[Startup Nomad #4] Future Smart System brings IoT to the kitchen

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“I’m craving for mom’s home-cooking”

You hear this frequently from people who’ve moved out of their homes. Despite having so many restaurants to choose from, there’s always that craving for a dish that mom made. Even if you try to recreate a dish, it’s never quite ‘that flavor’ you remember.

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When watching a food show or following a recipe online, food is hard to reproduce. Some have talent in the kitchen, but it’s not easy for the rest of us to follow another person’s recipe and directly replicate the result.

Future Smart System is setting out to solve this dilemma through the power of IoT.

“Future Smart System connects to Cookhows.com and uses Bluetooth to take the ingredients from the site, as well as proportion information, and mixes them with the Digital Chef. People will be able to experience the same taste as the way it was intended by the chef, all from a touch of their fingertips.” said Byoungkon Min, CEO of Future Smart System.

People can freely upload, access, and download recipes created by the online community through a mobile app. However, a premium option allows recipe authors to charge for special recipes that they upload.

This kind of recipe community service is not uncommon, but what sets Future Smart System apart is the Digital Chef. The Digital Chef is a device that holds up to 16 types of seasonings and ingredients inside its containers. It takes recipe data containing precise measurements of each ingredient and sends mixing instructions to the hardware so that it lets you create the exact taste as intended by the original chef.

Min: “This is how cooking is done today: people first study the recipe, weigh each ingredient manually or just eyeball it, then mix them together. Digital Chef takes both the guesswork and manual labor out of the process; all you have to do is choose a recipe and everything is done automatically. Whether you’re single or newlywed, or if you want to cook and eat international food, then Digital Chef makes all this possible at the touch of a button. Part of the travelling experience is trying out new regional flavors. Even if these flavors are brought and made in Korea, it’s a difficult process to recreate them. Even at specialty restaurnts, flavors are hard to reproduce. Digital Chef is capable of reproducing flavors from anywhere as long as you have the recipe.”

Future Smart System’s credits the Digital Chef’s ability to reproduce flavors due to the accuracy in the device’s hardware. Because the ingredients are set precisely in the recipe itself, it’s possible to reproduce the same flavor over and over.

“Before joining Future Smart System, I worked in a company that built and serviced weight scales for schools and public health facilities. As technology advanced, Digital Chef was able to maintain ingredient accuracy up to 0.1g increments at a time. Because of this precision, I’m able to reproduce a certain flavor almost with little variation.”

The main compelling argument comes from its ability to repeatedly reproduce the same flavor at the touch of a button. It’s a product that’s better understood when demoed in person versus listening to an explanation.

Though the product concept seems feasible, Min also briefly discussed some of the complications that come with managing and nurturing the recipe community, mainly the nature of content. Depending on what region you’re from, some recipes are considered priceless while people from other countries are more open to free or affordable distribution. Though Future Smart System has a hardware aspect, they are also targeting the global market to build their recipe network and create appealing volume.

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“We thought a lot about entering the overseas market but it turned out to be much harder than we thought. But after going to Startup Nomad, we received a lot of guidelines and support. No matter how long you’ve worked in the IT industry in Korea, there’s still a lot of differences between ours and the global market. Our plans to tackle the global market have changed a lot and I heard a lot of frustrations from other startups who’ve visited Silicon valley and ended up having to re-evaluate their global plans. However this alone counts as experience that will definitely help in the future.”

“We will make IoT in the kitchen a reality. Expect Future Smart System to usher forth a new wave of food culture.”

Eddie Cho echo@venturesquare.net

About Author

/ echo@venturesquare.net

A tech enthusiast with all things UX, web and design, Eddie Cho is the international editor for VentureSquare. When he's not busy chasing down startups in Korea, Eddie enjoys eating fried chicken, filming movies, and hanging out at Itaewon or Hongdae. He's also training to become the next Hokage.

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