Actually, I *do* want IoT kitchen gadgets


There's a popular meme that Internet connected domestic appliances are a useless fad that no-one wants. I disagree.

Obviously, a crappy oven with an app that upsells you cleaning products is a bit shit. As is a dishwasher that borks on firmware update and lets itself be hacked by the Eurasians. But those are just a symptom of profit-led development rather than placing a priority on user-needs.

Several years ago, I built an Internet Connected Fridge. This didn't have a touchscreen with a broken calendar integration, and it didn't use AI to scan my yoghurt for expiry dates. All it did was send me an email when I'd left the door open too long.

You see I am old and forgetful. I can't always hear the machine's plaintive beep. My fridge doesn't let me adjust its tip, and I couldn't find a spring-mount which would fit. A simple push-notification is exactly the solution I wanted.

Similarly, my air-fryer, washing machine, dishwasher, bread-maker, and microwave are quiet. I know I could start a timer on my phone every time I use them, but that's a bit of a faff. And doesn't work for non-timer devices like the rice-cooker and tumble-dryer.

IoT notifications are useful to me.

What about control? That's a slightly more difficult subject. Most of my gadgets already have a timer delay built in. That allows me to set them to run when I know electricity is going to be cheaper. So I could set the air-fryer to have dinner ready for me at a specific time. But if my journey home is delayed, I have no way to stop it.

To be honest, it is rare that I want to control something while I'm away from home. I like that I can crank up my heating while on the bus home, that's as far as it goes.

So I can see the utility for some people, but it isn't especially relevant to my needs.

Your arguments are irrelevant

Whenever I talk about stuff like this, some weapons-grade bore feels compelled to pipe up and say "No! IoT is rubbish! The S stands for Security!! How did people cope before this??? Why not get off your arse and check manually???? ENSHITTIFICATION!!!!!!"

Let me be clear - I don't give a fuck about your opinion, random Internet man. You don't get to police what desires people have. I am competent enough to set up my network securely. I am willing to spend a few hours fiddling with HomeAssistant to save me 3 minutes at a later date. Your opinion is unwanted and unnecessary.

I like technology. I enjoy playing and exploring. I want things to be slightly more convenient.

So, I've just bought some Matter smart plugs and am going to retrofit alerting to some of my legacy appliances. Fun times ahead!


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9 thoughts on “Actually, I *do* want IoT kitchen gadgets”

  1. @Edent > I don't give a fuck about your opinion, random Internet man. You don't get to police what desires people have.

    This made me legit LOL. Thank you. 😆

    I agree that notifications, timed start, and current status are useful smart features of appliances. I want those. The current market makes me wonder if it is easier for me to learn how to manufacture an appliance or for appliance manufacturers to build use-case appropriate and secure firmware.

    Reply
  2. says:

    @Edent You fridge example made my think of my parents' solution to the dog wanting to go back and forth from the garden: a smart key to open the door, a linear actuator to close it. The problem was that they ended up using two different apps, but for them it was still better than getting up from the sofa 20 times a day.

    We need better compatibility, less cloud dependency and more user control, not less connectivity.

    Reply
  3. @Edent playing around with home automation is the reason I now have second hand Unifi hotspots installed - it seems that my ISP provided WiFi router was struggling with the near 50 devices (mainly ESP8266 based devices running ESPHome) that I now have scattered through the house doing various things.

    Reply
  4. DinoNerd says:

    Your kink is OK.

    I can imagine good uses for internet-connected gadgets.

    What I can't imagine is anyone selling me a secure, reliable implementation, or even one with the failure mode of behaving like a well-made, functional non-internet-connected device.

    If you roll your own, your mileage may vary, but if you are not responsible for the hardware, firmware, or protocols, it may not vary enough to make me feel good about it.

    Reply
  5. GothBoyUK says:

    I never thought I'd need a washing machine or tumble dryer with IoT. Now I would hate to go back to the Dark Times and already want an IoT oven and dishwasher. The same thing happened with Alexa, I thought voice assistants were a bit of fun, but as I've gotten older (and arguably less mobile) they're a lifeline. I don't know if I'd be as confident in my own home without them.

    Reply
  6. @Edent I agree. We bought some new appliances recently for our new kitchen, and most of them are smart to some degree. It’s incredibly useful to know that the freezer has been left open, that the dishwasher is nearly finished or is out of rinse aid. I can turn off the cooker hood via voice if I’ve sat down to eat and it’s still blasting away. It’s all Siemens kit, and it’s very well thought out.

    Reply
  7. @Edent "How did people cope before this"

    I've always found this argument really silly. By this logic, we shouldn't use any form of modern technology because they used to cope just fine in the past without it. 😅

    Reply

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