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April 2016

How to Be Smart about the Smart Kitchen: Introducing the HieBAR Kitchen Media Platform

HieBAR_Clean
With the exception of refrigeration, the technologies that captivate me in the kitchen have been around since the beginning of time. Fire and water are pretty much all I need. But there’s no stopping progress. My brother-in-law recently wrote about how his new oven is connected to the Internet so I know that the smart kitchen is already here. But as my brother-in-law's post makes clear, the smart kitchen has yet to be perfected. According to my friend Ryan H. Behroozi, a Brooklyn-based product designer, the problem with the connected kitchen isn’t in the software, it’s in the hardware. But he’s not suggesting getting a new tablet or touch-screen. He has a better solution, his new HieBAR Kitchen Media Platform, a premium piece of kitchen hardware designed to give safe, ergonomic viewing and fluid access to your tablets and cookbooks.

  • The HiBAR holds tablets with or without covers, as well as cookbooks big and small
  • It makes it easy to move your media and still be able to view it
  • It easily converts from countertop-to-undercabinet mode
  • It is fully adjustable for height, tilt, swivel
  • It is all-metal and hand-crafted in the USA
  • It folds up, back or removes when not in use
  • It is super-easy to install

“Existing countertop stands and clip-in/clip out tablet mounts have not done much to bring us the kitchen of the future we all saw on ‘The Jetsons’,” Behroozi says. So he invented a beautiful object that is both flexible in how it can be used and durable in its construction. The HieBAR frees up counter space because it can be mounted under cabinets. “Countertop tablet stands and do little to enhance working access and tablet safety, are difficult to move when loaded, and really just add to countertop clutter,” he notes. “The tablet is still far away from the viewer and still vulnerable to spills and splatters.  We move around our workspace to perform tasks and the tablet is only useful when we can comfortably read it.  The notion of using a tablet mount to set up a fixed “information hub” that remains relevant throughout all phases of our kitchen practice, simply does not make sense.”

The answer, Behroozi says, is “a safe, accessible multi-location parking capability” for our tablets.  “Ideally, a chef should have safe, fluid access to their tablet adjacent to prep areas, sinks, stovetops, refrigerators and other storage areas.  Sometimes that means simply being able pick it up and move it from its perch, without going through a big clamping and unclamping routine.”

The HieBAR’s unique design makes it extremely easy to use. “You should be able to sit on your couch, pick a recipe, then go to the kitchen and park your tablet in a convenient place based on what you are doing and where you are doing it.  You should be able to do all this without having to take your tablet out of its case or cover and then re-clip or re-clamp it into a stationary mount.” 

“The HieBAR lets you configure and reconfigure your ‘parking’ platform in different undercabinet and countertop working arrangements to see what works best for you and your situations.  In countertop mode HieBAR stands high off the counter and you can move it, fully loaded with a heavy book and/or tablet, with just one hand.  In undercabinet mode it is high and safe, off of the counter and adjusts (height, tilt, swivel, lateral) for optimal viewing.”

The HieBAR’s construction and design sets it apart from other contemporary products. Behroozi says this addresses the “disposability fallacy.” Most clip-in/clip-out tablet mounting gadgets are made of IM Plastic, extruded and stock aluminum tube and assembled by grey market labor, Behroozi points out. “Because our tablets and electronics are perceived as ‘disposable’ with a two-to three-year useful life, people often reason that the things that hold and display them should be similarly throwaway,” he says. “They don’t expect these enabling utilities to be beautiful design objects, built to last and nice to look at even when empty.  I'm clearly working to change that view.  HieBAR is not a tablet accessory.  It’s a new soon-to-be essential kitchen enhancement.”

The HieBAR is locally sourced, made in nearby Poughkeepsie. “Consider people who invest installation time and money ($300-$1,200) in a nice quality overhead pot rack to display and access their cookware,” Behroozi says. “I'm advocating the idea of giving your kitchen that same respect with regard to media display and access.  We’re even going so far as to initial and number the first 100 HieBAR Units engraved ‘series A’ to emphasize that beyond being functionally unique, it is really a design object made with the best, materials and craftsmanship.”

The market is responding.  “You may notice on Houzz.com, our exclusive web-retailer, that rather than being in the ‘recipe and cookbook stands’ category, we were curated into the ‘pantry-and-cabinet-organizers’ offerings with items that require complex installation, many of which, are priced in the $200 to $1,100 range,” Behroozi notes. “Like these items HieBAR is an investment in your kitchen.  Unlike these items,  the HieBAR undercabinet track is very easy to install and works on virtually any cabinet.  You also get two track sections with each HieBAR package so it can mount and move under any two cabinets in your kitchen as well as perch comfortably on any work surface.”
 
When asked why his product is engineered to hold even oversized cookbooks, Behroozi, points to his potential customer.  “We built this product for people who are avid chefs and design enthusiasts – not necessarily in that order.  They are going to lead the way in advancing this idea.  We see them as people who embrace the digital but will always have an appreciation for the analog.  Plainly put, while our customers like their tablets, they keep and cherish their cookbooks – and they love their kitchens.”
 
The HieBAR Kitchen Media Platform is debuting at the Bklyn Designs show open May 6-8 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and you can also find out more about the HieBAR on its Facebook page.