When does your fridge know too much about your life?
There’s huge amount of buzz about fridges so smart that they can notify you when you run out of certain groceries or even order them for you. It’s a phenomenon that’s causing many people to pause for thought.
Why do you need the fridge to take photos of what’s in it, when it’s easy to just open the door and check? But when you think about the number of times you get the call from your other half in the supermarket, asking what was in the fridge after all, you start to see the benefit.
But is there a benefit in having all the extra functions all the way to social media, which are already on at least 3 or 4 other devices? Will it soon become a trend to post your real-time fridge stock shot on Instagram, directly from the fridge panel, #HighProteinLowCarb, #SmoothieForLife, #FreeRangeEggsOnly, among the other 27 hashtags, and reply to messages, directly from the fridge panel? Or, is it just addressing problems, that don’t really exist?
The daily battle with the smart coffee machine in the office is familiar to many. So smart that it keeps telling you what to do, step by step, and would never allow you to carry on life until you do what it thinks is the right thing to do – a classic example of the gap between product design and user experience.
There’s a fine line between helpful and annoying, between helpful and creepy..
When it comes to IoT, from the consumer’s perspective, there’s a fine line between helpful and annoying, and there’s a fine line between helpful and creepy. It’s not the “Alexa is listening even when you don’t want her to” kind of creepy, but Target-knows-you-are-pregnant-before-your-mum-does kind of creepy. Many people are less comfortable with the idea of in-home grocery delivery, however much easier it is supposed to make life. An invisible and vast network of devices analyzing what’s happening in your life and trying to influence your decisions is profoundly uncomfortable for more and more people.
“Oh, there’re suddenly 3 packs of raw chicken breast. You never like chicken breast. And you just boiled them with no flavouring. Your puppy must be having stomach problems again, and you’re stocking up his substitute meal. Would you like me to make an appointment at your vet tomorrow morning at 10? I see you have a conference call scheduled with Tokyo that should be finished by 9.” It may be charming if this came from Alfred the butler standing at the door, but not so much from a gender-neutral voice from a screen, without a face.
Picture yourself trying to reheat the second half of the frozen pizza in the microwave. It refuses to run, and gives a calm “I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” And no amount of pleading will help as the microwave calmly continues “You have reached the monthly threshold of saturated fat intake, based on your New Year’s resolution to lose weight. This conversation can serve no purpose anymore.”
The machine that goes PING starts to sound so attractive.
To find out more about how we are exploring the IoT, please contact Nimrod.