Sunday, January 31, 2016

Are you smarter than your tea kettle?

So you think you're smarter than your furniture?
This Smarter iKettle 2.0 Wifi Kettle was a featured product on's homepage. It certainly provides a service but just becuase you can enable this type of technology, does it really mean you should?

Its features include

  • "Remote boil your iKettle from anywhere in the home.
  • Water Level sensor shows you exactly how much water is in the iKettle on the App
  • Make night feeds easier, remotely boil and be notified once the water reaches your desired temperature
  • Select any temperature between 20-100c to get the best taste from your chosen tea
  • Wake Up mode and home mode allow you to schedule your kettle at a time to suit you."

Just because you can, does it mean you should?

We will discover in the near future that there is a fine line between the concept of a "smart" house or "smart" life and what is actually a lazy technology-enabled life, e.g. use your app instead of your eyes to check "how much water is in the Kettle".

This is distinctly different from the current crop of digital-first businesses such as Uber and Airbnb that provide services that literally were not available before, i.e. personal drivers or a worldwide database of more affordable travel accommodation. However many of the new smart devices use technology to do what humans used to and still do absolutely fine in an analog way. Sure you can be a little smarter about something, i.e. "exactly how much water is in the kettle" vs. approximately how much water is in the kettle. But it begs the quetsion, is any of that necessary?

One day we will need someone to help us figure out how to manage technology in the home. Sure, some things will make life better and easier. But do we really want to be completely app- and phone-dependent? If you lose your phone will that mean you won't be able to enter your house, turn your lights on or, as the case may be, heat up water for your tea? And in the case that you are still able to enter, will your mouth suddently reject water that is generally hot and not the exact "temperature between 20-100c to get the best taste from your chosen tea"? Or in a slightly more paranoid but completely realistic scenario, do we really want to create more openings for hackers to enter our homes and spy on our babies, blow up our tea kettles or turn our rooms an unchangeable pink? (Baby monitor streaming, smart kettles, smart lightblubs.) Or lock us out of our homes and worse, let intruders or thieves inside? (Smart door locks.)

I might be in the digital practice from the marekting side, but the booming technology side is all-in-all, alongside occasionally being useful, baffling, ridiculous and terrifying.



jade said...

Keep yeast in wood or earthen. Keep preserves and jellies in glass, or china, or stone ware. Keep salt in a dry place. tea

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