Friday, October 21, 2016

Not my cup of IoT

The iKettle bills itself as “the world’s first Wi-Fi kettle,” which lets you “boil your kettle with your smart phone, anywhere in your home.” (Okay: you’re really not boiling your kettle with your smart phone, unless it’s one of the Samsung exploding Galaxies. You’re setting the kettle to boil, thank you.)

A Wi-Fi tea kettle. Because, you know, it’s just such a strain to have to walk into the kitchen and either put the kettle on the burner or turn on your electric tea kettle. After I burnt out the aluminum bottom of my whistling stovetop tea kettle, covering the burner with big drips of molten aluminum, I started using the electric tea kettle. And it’s great.

But an electronic tea-kettle? Really?

I’m not jumping up and down in anticipation of the Internet of Things (IoT). Sure, controlling your HVAC or security system: righteous applications! But do we really need a fridge that sends us a smartphone alert when there’s only a gulp of milk left in the bottom of the bottle? Do we really need a tea kettle with embedded sensors that we can control from afar? Maybe everything that can be embedded will be embedded. Maybe everything that can be connected will be connected. Strike those maybes. Everything that can be embedded and connected will be. In fact, a new term for the IoT is starting to come into use. In some circles, it’s now the Internet of Everything.

But when it gets down to the tea kettle level, it sure sounds like technology in search of an use, not the other way around.

Meanwhile, British techie Mark Rittman decided to buy a Wi-Fi tea kettle. And then proceeded to try out his Wi-Fi tea kettle.  

It sounded simple enough, but — as Rittman had to integrate the iKettle into his already very well-connected home — it didn't quite go according to plan. (Source: Mashable)

So he live-tweeted throughout the 11 hours it took him to make himself a cuppa. (It’s definitely worth giving the Mashable article a glance. Perhaps while your watched pot is coming to a boil.)

IoT devices will get easier to use over time. But unless and until IoT-ing becomes as easy as using a phone, all these nifty, why-not IoT devices won’t reach anywhere near mass adoption. No one other than a die-hard techie would have the fortitude to devote 11 hours to setting up a tea kettle. But for the time being, this is what you may encounter if you really don’t want to get up from the couch and make yourself a cup of tea.

Let me know when there’s an app that will fill the kettle with fresh water, turn it on, pour it over a tea bag in the mug I want to use now – maybe the Moody’s Diner one, for a change - let it steep, add milk and sugar, and bring it to me. Oh, and how about getting me a biscotti to wash down while you’re at it.

That does it. I’m now in search of a cup of Irish Breakfast and a cookie. But I’m doing it the old fashioned way – electric, not electronic.

And I raise my cup to my brother-in-law, Rick, for sending this article my way.

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