CES 2014: Daydreaming of WiFi Crock Pots and the Internet of Things


CES is a great time of year to daydream. It’s not just daydreaming about 105″ curved 4K televisions, either.

It sounds like a joke, but the first announcement that got me excited was the Belkin Crock Pot. Controlling your crock pot from your mobile device might not seem like a large innovation, but I have a family member that puts her crock pot on the bathroom floor when she goes to work in the morning. It’s piece of mind to us humans that “the internet of things” can bring to an appliance like a crock pot.


Television was an appointment based appliance until the DVR allowed us to take our time at dinner rather than run home to catch the latest sportsball games. Light bulbs were boring until a Kickstarter raised $1.5 million to create light bulbs controlled by mobile devices. Pedometers were never considered fashionable until the Nike Fuelband was a hit at Paris Fashion Week according to Vogue.


Each of these appliances seek to solve a problem. We’ve ceded control of our lives to our appliances and we are slowly taking back control. A wifi slow cooker only seems silly until you have to work late and your winter squash chili is cooking on the counter at home. An internet connected security camera seems like overkill until you have a freakout about leaving the stove on. Networked light bulbs are too much until you realize that you left your lights on while you’re headed for the airport.


It’s easy to get caught up in gadgets for gadgets’ sake during CES. The latest widget, gewgaw or doodad seems shiny at first, but it’s worth evaluating if the gewgaw is empowering you or you are empowering the gewgaw.


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