back to article US consumers don't want web-enabled toasters

A survey of previous NPD research has found US consumers not fully embracing the connected future so beloved of tech marketeers. Researchers found that for most US users a PC, with email and web browsing, is enough. Although some are using games consoles and smartphones to get online the vast majority are not. 75 per cent of …

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Boffin

damn right

I for one fail to see the point in twitbook enabled objects, and i've made a number of the buggers *glares at arduino*

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Badgers

Of course not!

They want your old pal Talkie Toaster (patent applied for). Good for toast, conversation and occasional world-saving.

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Silver badge

Not surprising

As anyone knows you cannot trust them toasters with any network connections. They might have a plan.

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Anonymous Coward

Obligatory

I want a NetBSD toaster!

http://www.embeddedarm.com/software/arm-netbsd-toaster.php

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Happy

<churchill dog> Oooh YES! </>

Now I know what I want for Christmas!

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Anonymous Coward

That doesn't sound right

"75 per cent of consumers have not downloaded any content in the last three months."

but

"75 per cent of consumers have not paided for anything they've downloaded in the last three months."

sounds more likely.

AC 'cause I saw what happened to that ACS bloke.

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Anonymous Coward

Alternatively...

I thought that if this survey has just come out; that the last 3 months has had nothing worth downloading.

The new Autumn TV season has only just started, the last 3 months has been nothing but repeats anyway. Also in the UK at least there is now usually only a week or so difference between air dates of new TV in the US and here.

A positive direct side effect of people downloading stuff.

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Web enabled toasters...

Nice as it might be to be able to switch on the Cooker from work so that supper is ready and hot when I get actually home from work, and the washing machine so my shirts are ready to iron after I've finished supper (oh and program the video) , I fear web enabled domestic appliances is a recipe for a whole world of pain from the script kiddies.

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Happy

Done!

I've just logged into your house and turned on the oven and the burners - oh yes, and I'm running you a bath ... what time did you say you'd be home?

Oh - I see on Facebook that you're on vacation in Spain ...

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Re: Web enabled toasters...

You're missing one big point and that's not control, but monitoring. Sure, I'd like to be able to turn on the kettle from my desk, but agree that's a huge potential safety risk - but what about just being able to see if it's currently in use or has finished boiling within a specified time - i.e. it was last boiled X minutes ago?

I think you're perhaps right about the control issue though... what if someone turned on the stove and boiled the potatoes dry and burned the house down? That's far too much of a safety risk. You'd need extra safety equipment that could override and shut off the stove. Perhaps not allowing web-control of the stove top elements would be a suitable safety measure.

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Yes U.S. consumers *do* want web enabled toasters... and other kitchen gadgets

I disagree. It's not that people don't want a web-enabled toaster, it's that many people have not perceived a viable use for it. So perhaps if they were given a compelling reason to want one, then they might see a good use for it in their own lives.

Here's a compelling reason: What about people who don't want to hang around by the toaster and wait for their toast to be done?

At my office, the kitchen is about a 15 second walk from my desk. That's close enough that it's no big deal to return to my desk and continue working while it's doing it's thing, but far enough and around enough corners that I can neither see nor hear the toaster...or the kettle or the microwave. It's also far enough away that I can't see if these devices are currently in use. Consequently, if I want toast, I first have to get up and leave what I'm doing to find out if the toaster is in use, interrupting my work process only to get there and find the toaster is already in use.

If it is in use, I have to decide if I want to hang around and wait for that person's toast to finish before I can put my own on or if I go back to my desk and continue working and come back later. If the toaster is not in use I can put in my bread and stand over it and wait or I can go back to my desk and carry on working for 3 minutes until my toast is done. 3 minutes doesn't seem like a lot of time, and it's not, on its own - but if you add up the amount of times I would need to wait for the toast to be done, or the kettle to boil or the microwave to be finished making my lunch over the course of a day, week, month or year - it adds up to significant time I could have been doing something more useful than waiting around twiddling my thumbs.

As it happens, I rarely use the toaster at work, but I boil the kettle a number of times a day and go back to my desk to work so as not to waste the 5 minutes I'd otherwise be standing around doing nothing... and then forget I went to boil the kettle. An hour later, I do the same thing... if it was web enabled, it could notify me that the kettle's boiled and remind me that I wanted tea. As for those machines that keep the water on boil all day - they make scummy tea, so don't even suggest it.

So bring on the web enabled toaster I say, I'd buy it. I want an interface that will allow me to see when it's in use and display an alert when it's finished. I'd like the same interface for the kettle, the coffee pot, the microwave and the stove.

One web-enabled technology I've not yet understood a need for is a web-enabled fridge. Near as I can tell though, nobody wastes much time standing around waiting for the fridge.

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Coat

Yes but...

Even with web enabled toasters and kettles, you just know that if you walk away while it is toasting/boiling someone else will pinch your toast/water and you will still be left with a warm toaster and no hot water,

They say "A watched pot never boils". On the contrary, a watched pot is the only one that you can guarantee will boil without some other bugger making off with it!

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ooh....

"One web-enabled technology I've not yet understood a need for is a web-enabled fridge. Near as I can tell though, nobody wastes much time standing around waiting for the fridge."

It does have a use. It can send a message to your smartphone to tell you: "DRINK YOUR BLOODY MILK, EXPIRATION DATE'S TOMORROW!!!". Back in the college days, plenty of milk went bad because everyone assumed it was the other roommate's milk, and thus the milk went unused even when the expiration date loomed closer. Or worse, the food had gone bad and no-one threw it away!

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"A watched pot never boils"

That's a damn lie! It does boil - it just takes a little longer.

(with thanks to Paul McDermott)

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Is that the sound of the business plans the world over going 'pop'.

"It's not that people don't want a web-enabled toaster, it's that many people have not perceived a viable use for it."

Or more likely "A bunch of morons haven't had some marketing campaign tell them what to waste their money on yet".

The actual research suggests people actually have all they need with the internet. Downloading isn't the plague we all thought it was and people actually do not download as much or hurt industry as much as the MP's and headlines suggest. But that would also suggest lobbying and backhanders galore to continue the useless rubbish that hollywood and the music industry churns out yet can't sell.

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Silver badge

Oh noes!

You mean fads that have no actual purpose DIE?????

AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!! There goes my business model!

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Pint

My toaster downloaded those Bitorremts

Actually web connected appliances, especially the high-consumption units, are likely to increase as the new Time-Of-Use electricity meters will want to have discrete little chats to dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers, water heaters, etc.

Toasters, however, usually controlled by human demand, are unlikely to get connected to the web. But if you did have one you could always say it downloaded all those music and movie files.

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Happy

@JaitcH

"But if you did have one you could always say it downloaded all those music and movie files."

Well Washington University demonstrated you could make one of their printers *appear* to be the download client for some copyright material. Their point being claims about the ability of record companies to pin down who was doing what on the internet were rubbish.

I think they succeeded.

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Why have a web enabled toaster..

When you can buy toast online from Boyds Toast !!! http://boydstoast.com/

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Browsing v downloading

Surely by "just" browsing the t'interwebs you are indeed downloading.

Or are all those grubby folk accused of "downloading" indecent images of children wrongly being charged *if* they have simply browsed, rather than otherwise downloaded, said images?

I had always thought browsing without downloading rather ticky.

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Silver badge

I know

But the average user doesn't. Even if you don't count "browsing", I'd wager that more than 1 in 4 people download things, they just don't realize it. Most people seem to think downloads are something completely district (and possibly dangerous). Ask them if they've installed browser plug-ins, got email attachments or saved any cute pictures from the web and I bet you'd get a different answer.

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Terminator

Going to happen in the UK

I tell you it's going to happen. The Smart Meters will tell the toaster and kettle that the grid demand is too high because of everyone else having breakfast, and that you will just have to wait until 11 to have yours.

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Joke

Toasted Spam?

I'm just wondering - if my toaster is web-enabled, will it be susceptible to those unwanted pop-ups?

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Bronze badge

Yes

But instead of an image of the virgin Mary on your toast you'll get an image of a woman who certainly isn't.

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FAIL

Purposeless Technology

I was browsing refrigerators a week or so back and one caught my eye because it had a small color LCD display in the door. This touch screen could be used to monitor and set internal temperatures but it also had a couple of functions -- 'message center' and 'picture display'.

This is a pretty good example of how not to use technology. I'm not interested in talking to the fridge. I might want it to tell me useful things like there's a problem in the freezer or how much power its using but those could be done with a couple of neon indicators and (for a really modern product) an e-ink display or similar. (If it could email or text me when there's a problem, that's great).

All too often we come across solutions looking for problems.

.....and I haven't downloaded anything in the last few months either. Too busy.

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Anonymous Coward

It'll be

A web-enabled coffee pot next.

What do you mean, it's been done?

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FAIL

which is why we need fibre to the home??

Its all the big rage over here, got to have fibre to the home, may be for tv or video conferencing, or so we can store all our stuff on a cloud in the usa somewhere, so we can buy connected toasters so they can twit us that they have cooked the toast and it will be cold by the time we read it. All for just a few billion - glad we have so much spare cash for such a worthy project.

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FAIL

Oh no, not the domestic net appliance

Our glorious Leader of IT, Senator Stephen Conroy was using the net-enabled appliance scam to persuade Australia to sign up for the National Broadband Network. He claimed the benefits would include the ability of a net-enabled dishwasher to query competing electricity suppliers' price databases to find the cheapest source of power. Two problems for me with that:

1. To check a price list you don't need 1Gb/s.

2. We have a monopoly power provider around here.

It'll all end in tears, I tell you!

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Megaphone

Useful, oh yes

I remember a hacked coke machine back in uni about 20 years ago. It could tell you what was in it, the temperature of the drink, you could get credit with the coke machine so you didn't always need coins on you, and a delay drop so you could walk down the stairs and have it drop just as you got there. If you were on the top floor it was really handy to see if the coke was cold enough to drink before walking down the 3 flights of stairs. I always thought that was a cool idea, Coca - Cola had other idea's as I recall. Pity.

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Anonymous Coward

Who would want a data-pimping toaster?

There probably was a time 10 years ago when having connected everything seemed like a good idea, even if no-one really knew why. Then the odd idea would pop out like a fridge that would tell you what you need to buy, or central heating that could be switched on via mobile. Which all sounded kind of cool, but still in a "but do I really need it" kind of way.

I think it's all a bit moot now because data gathering for marketing purposes seems to be attached to just about every piece of software or hardware you touch. The connected home now looks more like the "Marketeers home of the future" in which they could generate a metric for everything from where you eat your breakfast to where you ultimately park it, for no more noble purpose than selling you stuff you didn't want in the first place.

The iPhone is a case in point; to use one, you are obliged to accept Apple's EULA which states they can monitor anything they can get their hands on and use it for whatever the fuck they like. It's one thing carrying an entire marketing department in your pocket, but I personally don't fancy every electricity consuming object in my home reporting back to Tesco, Google, Phorm II, Farcebook or some enhanced NuLab 2.0 whether my decision to have an extra wank before dinner influenced my choice of frozen Lasagne followed by a doughnut over a "healthy choice" of six tedious pieces of fruit.

So unless we get our act together to do a "Golgafrincham Ark B" on the data-pimping and marketing world, I reckon the IP enabled Thick Slice Special will remain Toast.

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You wait...

... Jobs will announce the i-Toast and the fanbois will be queueing round the block to get 'em.

Of course it will only work with Apple-branded bread (£5 a loaf).

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