LAS VEGAS — As soon as I saw this Wi-Fi-connected kettle, I wondered to myself: “Why on earth would anyone want a Wi-Fi-connected kettle?”
But I talked to the CEO, and his answer surprised me. Now I totally want one.
The Smarter Wi-Fi-connected kettle, called the iKettle in the U.K., is so British it’s not funny. Every household in the U.K. has an electric kettle. It’s on all day, every day, making cuppa after cuppa, all day long.
Thanks to its Wi-Fi connection, the iKettle can be turned on from anywhere. Boiling the kettle from the couch is a no-brainer. But thanks to IFTTT (If This Then That), an internet action service, the iKettle can turn itself on automatically when there’s a commercial break on TV.
The British love to make tea when the ads are on. Commercial breaks aren’t as frequent as they are on U.S. TV, and it’s the perfect time to make a brew.
“When the ads come on, the kettle starts boiling,” said Christian Lane, CEO of Smarter.
Maybe this sounds strange to an American (or anyone else), but as a British expat, this raison d’être totally resonated with me. Now I understood exactly why a kettle should have a Wi-Fi connection.
The company is bringing some of the same smarts to a coffeemaker, which is more American. Launching in March, the $199 WiFi Coffee Maker makes individual cups of coffee from a connected iOS and Android app. There’s scheduling: It can be set up to make coffee before your alarm goes off and when you arrive home. Set up through IFTTT, it can monitor traffic conditions, waking you with fresh coffee 10 minutes early if the commute looks bad.
It has a built-in grinder. The hopper holds enough coffee beans for a week (at two cups a day).