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ljsalkin

Are WiFi connected appliances useful or just gimicky?

5 years ago

Curious about experiences with wifi connected appliances - particularly kitchen appliances. If you have wifi options, how often are you using them? Is it something I should prioritize in my kitchen? For example, I'm looking at a Bosch oven (BHBLP451UC), which does not have connectivity. Whereas I think some GE Monogram ovens do have it. Trying to determine if it's a gimmick or something I'd actually find useful.

Comments (117)

  • 5 years ago

    Something not yet mentioned is that users of apps to control/access WiFi devices are slave to the whims of the programmers of the apps.

    We have four WiFi thermostats at work. There are some control features that are available only via the app ... such as enabling auto heat/cool switchover mode, and programming temperature setback periods. There's also a function to lock the buttons on the thermostats so that they're controllable only via the app, which I can say is useful for security.

    I'm the only employee who has the app (and I'm typically not there during daytime hours), the owner/general manager is not so much whiz-bang friendly and didn't want it. So I get a text to please unlock such-and-such thermostat any time HVAC service is onsite. The business is of a type that often hosts special events outside normal operating hours so I'm often having to turn a system on manually when it wasn't programmed in advance for an event.

    It was easier to do the programming on the much larger screen of my iPad than the little iPhone screen ... until the app updated to the point it can't run on the iPad OS, which itself can no longer be updated. So, there was the end of that. My phone is nearing the end of its update support, so who knows how much longer the app will work on it until I'm forced to get a new phone just for the goofy thermostat app.

    The app initially maintained the 7 days of the week in the order I entered them (the business operates on a different weekly schedule than Mon-Fri). It was mentally intuitive to have the days in that order. Then an update rearranged the days into alphabetic order. Ugh. Another update scrambled them into some indiscernible random order, each of the four thermostats is different. More ugh.

    The app has been flaky for several months, causing programming updates to sometimes not save to the thermostat, even when repeated 3, 4, more times. I have a support ticket open but they haven't been able to solve the problem. Crazy.

  • 5 years ago

    I've run into the software obsolescent issue with my stereo, too. I can program the important bits right on the server if I don't mind doing it from a stepladder. That doesn't get all the nifty metadata or album covers. It has a separate wi-fi from the computers, btw. ;)

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  • 5 years ago

    Something not yet mentioned is that users of apps to control/access WiFi devices are slave to the whims of the programmers of the apps.


    I've been made wary of depending on software updates to keep hardware running after having to junk a couple of HP scanners that would no longer work on more modern operating systems. HP refused to release/update drivers for post WinXP, and so a pair of perfectly fine scanners went into the garbage. I won't buy anything HP now.

  • 5 years ago

    I received a bluetooth cooking thermometer as a gift. Great idea in theory as you don't have to hang around the oven waiting for a roast to reach a certain temp. But it is absolutely useless as the makers of it haven't updated the software so that it no longer works with current the current IOS from Apple.

    I installed the Nest thermostat in my old home. Best thing since sliced bread. I could remotely turn the heat up or down. But I didn't realize how spotty my internet service was until I came home to an almost pipe-freezing cold house one winter day. My Nest had lost its connection. I switched back to my old thermostat asap.

  • 5 years ago

    I ordered a sous vide cooker today. If the ones I looked at, the one that seems best in almost every way (Chefsteps Joule) is entirely controlled via Bluetooth and smartphone app. That was enough to rule it out. I bought the Anova Nano instead.


  • 5 years ago

    John I wanted one as well and looked at the Chefsteps Joule. I thought it was pretty nice but then realized I had to use my phone. That was a deciding factor Not to buy it. Still don't have one. I would be interested to know how well you like the Anova Nano.

    Inga

  • 4 years ago

    I have the Anova Nano and like it very much. It can connect to your iphone but I chose not to connect it. Nonetheless, I downloaded the apps for both the Nano AND the Joule because they have good recipes that I can use. Just get the recipe with the temp and time and set the thing manually.

  • 4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    My thermostat is WiFi which I thoroughly enjoy and love. That is because when i first go to bed, I raad for awhile and leave the temperature at a comfortable setting. However, when I am ready for lights out, I use my tablet to turn the thermostat down to a much lower level for a good night of sleeping. And I don't have to get out of bed, go to the other side of the house where the thermostat is to do that.

    The other thing I have are the HUE white lights and bridge. When I was recovering from a bad physical condition, It was very hard and painful to lift my arm to turn the bedside lamp off and on. I read about the HUE lights, bridge, and switch, and ordered just the plain white ones with the bridge and one light switch. As soon as they arrived, installed them and put the on/off switch on my bedside table. What a wonderful, wonderful thing they are. They are expensive, and I do not plan to put the light bulbs throughout the house, I have selected about five lamps/light fixtures I want to eventually place the smart bulbs in. I highly recommend them.

    As far as appliances go, I just don't see the need for anything WiFi in appliances. Just my thoughts.

  • 4 years ago

    I'm continually adding automation in our new home. Barring a few interior lights, all interior and exterior lights are on wifi, 5 floor heating zones, 5 HVAC zones (extremely useful with multiple schedules (guests or no guests) etc.etc.) , 3 garages, door locks, ovens, pumps, cameras, security systems, etc. etc its all controlled from anywhere.

  • 4 years ago

    Are there any examples of someone actually breaking in to someone's computer via an internet connected appliance? Or is this purely theory?

    Security is really quite simple - configure two separate networks. One for home automation, appliances, security, etc. A separate one for personal computers. We actually have a third separate wifi network for guests. I think most routers and AP's support this so cost is zero to minimal.

    Our Wifi connected thermostats, lights, media, security and surveillance are used frequently and we appreciate the convenience of them. We can pre-heat/cool our cars with an app which is especially useful when it's -10°f out. Want the sauna ready when you get home?

    As to appliances (none of our current are wifi), I can see many useful features; Clocks that remain accurate, remotely begin pre-heating an oven, remotely turn a dryer on to get wrinkles out of clothes, alert from oven, washer or dryer that something is complete, ability to remotely see a timer so you know how much longer something has, easier to program and name custom programs (I'm thinking our Advantium here). There are some food items like bread that can be safely left in the oven and have cooking begun remotely.


  • 4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Many of the cooking appliances cannot be started remotely. As a safety feature, they require physically pressing a button on the appliance in conjunction with using the app to start a cooking program. I'm not sure whether the same is true of washer/dryer units.

  • 4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I enabled Remote cooking on our wall ovens and now we can. Although I'm not particularly keen on this, it is useful to preheat the oven especially when we are out shopping and intend to put something in the oven within a few minutes of reaching home.


    With so much wifi controlled lighting inside and especially outside, it is extremely useful to be able to create scenes and schedules with the app, With several garage doors in our home,they are scheduled to trigger a close function every evening, just in case one is left open; we have a long home and saves us checking the doors prior to setting security alarms. These are just few of the many functions and features readily available.

  • 4 years ago

    I think a big part of it is the marketing is so silly. There are great scenarios in this thread, especially from the people actually using the tech, but on TV they show someone who can't be bothered to wipe her hands off issuing voice commands. Yeah, it's convenient, but not worth investment or hassel.

  • 4 years ago

    This week saw adding yet another two WiFi dimmers.


    Being an Electonics engineer, and decades ago, built wireless radio remote control systems, being a licensed radio ham, I could, so long as we worked in our allocated radio frequency bands. Back in the 80’s I could remotely turn on my electric oven, to preheat it, only on or off. Today we can set temperatures, cooking modes, set timers etc. etc. all via a smart app.

  • 4 years ago

    I was gone for 3 months, came home to a massive ant invasion, my Ooma telo was not working,

    my printer which is WiFi connected was not connected and didn't recognize my password no matter what I did. I spent hours reading up on printers, downloading drivers etc.. Nothing made a difference. My dumb I phone keeps bothering me for updates that do nothing for me and usually screw up the phone. Between the ants the Ooma telo and the printer which refused to print I felt like I was in cyber hell.

    I finally called a friend who is a very techy person. He said if you can't figure it out in an hour call me. I asked him why all of a sudden would my password not be recognized, it actually went back to the original password setting which the century link guy coded into the modem. His comment was well there could have been a power outage and the system rebooted itself reverting to the original password. Is that crazy or what!


    So when these things happen with all of the technology and products we use, I personally wasted an inordinate amount of time, went thru a lot of frustration and wonder really after hours and days of this, how time saving are these devices. Maybe I'm the only one in this quandary.


    Inga

  • 4 years ago

    No, Inga, you are not the only one. It's frustrating.

  • 4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Thank you I sometimes feel very alone as if I'm the only one.

  • 4 years ago

    I know those updates are annoying, and sometimes the updates break functionality of the phone, but not updating leaves you more vulnerable to security exploits. Believe me the hassle of dealing with a security breach makes every act prior (updating etc) feel like a minor inconvenience. If anything, phone updates to the OS (via setting) shouldn’t be avoided for too long.

  • 4 years ago

    There was just a report on the news that crooks have readers that can steal your car key code so they can get in and steal your stuff. So, instead of a nice key lock, some of which are uncrackable, we have the car that recognizes you by the ping of your electronic key so you don't have to take it out of your pocket, but you have to put the key in a shielded container to lock it away, so you have to take it out your pocket and our of the container. Pffft!!

    I don't have the key sensor on because it drains the car battery and I don't drive enough to feel confident in the charging. So what about the key battery? There's an emergency key you can use if the electronic key goes dead. But while that lets you in the car, it doesn't turn off the security system, so the alarm goes off and you can't go anywhere.

    I don't want my kitchen to be so well designed as my car!

  • 4 years ago

    Steve I get your point and I know you're right.


    What I really find annoying with those phone updates generally

    center around stuff to "connect" you with your friends, allow better

    photo sharing etc. etc, none of which I need or want. In addition, the annoying hassles prompting me to update my profile. Finally figured out how to shut that down.


    I wonder if android phones are less annoying than the apple iphone? The only reason I

    have an Iphone was to take credit cards thru Square for my business. At that time they

    said the iphone worked better. What do I know! Maybe they got a kick back from Apple.


    Inga






  • 4 years ago

    plllog,

    The previous time when I was gone for quite some time I needed road service. my car battery died. I'm guessing from just sitting there. Battery was only 2 yrs old but dead. Had to buy a new battery.

    After that I bought a trickle charger which I hook up to the car battery if I'm gone for a while. I also bought a jump starter which I carry in my car. There are so many creeps running around it gives me a sense of comfort (even if it's a false sense) that I don't need help from a stranger. All I need now is a gun:))

    You might think about a trickle charger if you don't drive much. Costco on line carries them. $40 if I remember correctly.

    Inga

  • 4 years ago

    I understand and they don’t separate some of these needed security updates from the other stuff. It’s all or nothing package. :/

  • 4 years ago

    Have an android phone and I don't get those types of updates. I have other tech issues, but that hasn't been one of them.

  • 4 years ago

    Thanks, Inga. I don't think I need the trickle charger since I keep the key recognition system turned off. It can't drain the car battery, thus. What I need is some kind of similar charger for the key itself! I should, I suppose, put together a kit with a spare key battery and tiny screwdriver, but I only just thought of that now. I'll have to add that to my to-do list...

  • PRO
    3 years ago

    Some really interesting points being made here to this question. As a retailer we are seeing more appliances available with WiFi, and we are starting to see some really useful functions including remote diagnosis by the manufacturer, if you are unlucky enough to have a fault. So rather than just booking a a service call, the engineer can remotely diagnose the fault and arrive with exactly the correct parts to fix the appliance. You also have to remember that this technology is brand new within home appliances, and more useful 'smart' features will be available in the near future.

  • 3 years ago

    So far the only appliances I have that can be WiFi enabled are in the laundry. Newly purchased, and both the washer and dryer keep prompting me to take those steps. I cannot imagine how that would sort, add appropriate amount detergent, encourage the wet clothes to move themselves to the dryer or fold when dry. I can't imagine any kind of situation where it would be helpful to me and haven't activated it, do not plan to....

    So far my powers of description have been pretty clear, and my local service person doesn't charge for calls to diagnosis anyway, only parts and actual work. There was a time when I did find myself holding my phone to my washer so he could hear the offensive noise it was making and would know what he would deal with. A dinosaur, I stay mired in the the past....;0)

  • 3 years ago

    My washer and dryer are wifi enabled. I didn't purchase them for that reason tho. They are set up on my network and I find it helpful, but, I like tech. My phone keeps me informed of their status with notifications or I can look at the app. I can also ask Google for the status. GE pushed an update the other day. I don't know what it was for. A new feature didn't magically appear on the control panel tho ;)

  • 3 years ago

    I had it on my Samsung Washer and Dryer. Never could get it to work. EVER. I called tech support and they couldn't get it to work either. It would be nice since we had 3 stories and the laundry room was on the bottom floor...but oh well. I bought a new Washer/Dryer in my new home and bought one without the WiFi and saved money.

  • 3 years ago

    When I said that the only WiFi device we had was the thermostat, that was not exactly true, as we have security lights/doorbells that have WiFi. Since my last post, we closed on our second house, and I put a WiFi door lock on the front door, so that I could get in (or let someone in) without a key. The pool equipment is also on WiFi, and so I can control it remotely. In the winter, I turn the pool heater on the day before we will be there so that the pool will be at least 85° when we arrive. Right now the pool is 93°, but I have no way to make it cooler😓. In the summer, I only go in the pool very late in the afternoon or in the evening. I don't need the sun exposure anyway.

    I think that for a refrigerator, it might be nice to turn the ice-maker on and off, but that's not a big deal.

    We have a remote BBQ thermometer, similar to this one, but it only has a range of 300 feet, which is enough. This way we know what the temperature of the BGE is inside as well as the temperature of the meat we are cooking, and we don't have to stay outside to monitor it, in case it might be hot, which is rare at our house in L.A. In Cathedral City, our BBQ, is much closer to the kitchen, and so it is easier to monitor it without having to be outside - plus it is gas instead of wood/charcoal. Our smoker is electric, and so it really does not need a remote function, since it uses a low temperature and takes a long time anyway.

    I can't imagine needing WiFi for the stove, washer, or dryer.

  • 3 years ago

    A friend just bought a Samsung 4 door refrigerator. It was about $200 cheaper with the screen on front than without.

  • 3 years ago

    If things were normal for me, I would probably avoid wifi on appliances. However, I am deaf and if my newly ordered range and microwave can tell me when my food is cooked, I shall be grateful and forget all the burned items of the past because of not hearing “end” buzzer. Some tech is really helpful for people with disabilities. App on my iPhone converts conversation to text so I can understand what is being said to me.


  • 3 years ago

    I would not have wi fi on my appliances. I guess this means mainly the oven and maybe the smart fridge?

    I have never even used the timed bake on my oven, so why would I want it to be able to be controlled from remote? I don't want appliances running when I am not home. I won't even leave the dryer to run if I am leaving the house.

    Smart fridge? What nonsense. How in the world is that supposed to work? Not much in my fridge would recognized by any program. And, I don't need a computer program to tell me what to buy. Nonsense!

    We all see how quickly these darned smart things become outdated and obsolete. Who needs all that?

  • 3 years ago

    I like my WiFi washer and dryer. It’s convenient to get notified when they are finished. Also it’s nice to be notified when my oven reaches preheat temperature. My dishwasher notifies me when it’s done not sure how useful that is since I run it overnight. As far as my WiFi fridge not sure how useful it is, I guess if I was away and something went wrong it would notify me if the temperature went to low and I could send someone over to check on it.

  • 3 years ago

    I think that the ability to acess the health of an appliance from afar has only limited advantage. The less complicated that appliance is, the less often it is going to need a service technician. They are still going to have to come out and fix it. It does not happen often enough to warrant all that.

    You don't even know if the internet connection would even be valid over time. So why pay for such a feature? Things come and go so very quickly, including much of the technology that we use. My darned TV is only a couple of years old and already is becoming out of date. Damm!!

    All of that darned internet connection stuff in our car was pretty useless too!


    I have become so darned weary of keeping up with all this stuff. Enough, already!!


    Next you will hear that your stove is spying on you and keeping track of when you cook and what you eat! Between the smart fridge and the smart stove, there will be NO privacy. THEY will know what brand of pasta you buy and what kinds of pots and pans you have and you will be getting target ads for this on your computer! Laughable? maybe, maybe not.

    There is a point where it just adds to the complications of things and does not make it better.


    I am happy to have an old fashioned mechanical sewing machine, too.

  • 3 years ago

    My dishwasher has wi-fi but I have never used it. I looks like one extra task to me. Load it and tap the control panel. Done.

  • 3 years ago

    True, mine notifies me when done. Took about 2 minutes to setup.

  • 3 years ago

    My washer, dryer, and dishwasher notify me when they're done by beeping and then making no further operational sounds. :-)

  • 3 years ago

    Cool

  • 3 years ago

    It looks like the answer to the value of wifi appliances is that there is a great deal to be skeptical of.

    I would not opt for that.

    It has gotten so that it is almost impossible to buy a good quality appliance without all of those things that are not useful or needed. There is little middle ground, it seems

    You can buy the whole package of unneeded things or you can buy a lesser quality.

    Just good solid quality without the added things is hard to find.

    It reminds me many years ago when I saw a clock in the head of a sewing machine. You wonder why would anyone want a clock on the sewing machine.

    Just because you can does not mean that you should.

    Tech support for outdated technology happens at a rapid pace. That wifi fridge will be outdated before you can get it delivered and filled up. Besides, who needs to monitor the fridge?

    I can see maybe having some type of an alarm system on something like a freezer that may be full of valuable frozen food. That way you could wring you hands in concern from far away when it sends you a notice that the electricity is off and your side of beef is defrosting.

  • 3 years ago

    If I had bought the separate wifi package for my fridge and freezer, it would do exactly that: Send a message that they were open. So if you're (pre-covid-19) on a beach in Fiji, you can spend your day trying to track down your pet sitter who don't have her phone on her at work, and ruin your vacation fretting over everything going bad by the time she gets there. Or be on a subway under the river, and have to wait 20 minutes before you can even think of turning around and heading home, and have to spend the wait deciding whether losing a day's pay or your fridge contents is worse. :)

  • 2 years ago

    I have a Siemens smart dishwasher. Complete gimmick and never used. Have to use the Sneakernet to go to the dishwasher to activate remote starting. Forget the Internet and just press the start button while there!

  • 2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Plllog, the beach in Fiji that I usually went to had absolutely no cell phone service, and the resort did not have WiFi or cable. In fact, there was no TV in the room either. I was completely happy to be off the grid for the two weeks we were there. There was another island that I wanted to visit, but the hotels there had no electricity between midnight and 7 am, and that was not acceptable for me, especially since A/C is essential there. I don't think it got below 80°F at night.


  • 2 years ago

    I can deal with 80°F, but maybe not the humidity. So if you were on the beach in Miami, with phone service, you'd still have the problem finding the pet sitter.... (Not sure what happened to the verb in that example.)


    Kennedy, unless the remote start is for things like Flex Alerts and waiting to conserve energy during peak hours, I don't get it. Even then, a timer would work better because then you wouldn't have to set an alarm to remind you to remote start your DW, which is starting to sound Rube Goldberg. I get it for the remote diagnostic feature, but until the DW, once remotely started, can pick up all the dishes the family left lying around and get them into their proper places in the machine, what possible use is it?

  • 2 years ago

    Back when I had 3 active teens at home & a full time job, my old oven's Delay Start & Time Bake were fantastic conveniences. I'd get home at 3 pm, put a refrigerated casserole in the oven, start my 2 1/2 hours of pick ups & drop offs & errands, then we'd all come home to a cooked meal. I can see how remotely operating an oven could be very useful for a busy family.


    I use my new oven's wifi. It's not essential, and if it fizzles out as the appliance ages, no real loss. But it's a nice convenience for now. I was grocery shopping the other day, & the fish looked great. I have a good baked fish recipe, so I got the fish & other ingredients. Starting the oven in the grocery store,

    I came home to an oven ready to go. I assembled the fish dish & popped it in the oven, then put away the rest of the groceries. It gave me some time to get off my feet afterwards, especially when the end time rang on my phone & I turned the oven off without having to get up.


    We had guests recently, & dessert was still baking when they arrived. I could sit with them on our deck & converse because I had my phone with me to keep an eye on the oven. Otherwise, I can't hear the oven timer from the deck.


    GE sometimes adds features via software upgrades. They've added air fry to some ranges; hopefully they'll add it to my wall oven. This summer they added a weather feature to my clock display, which I like. I can see the current temp, projected high & low, & the day's forecast.




  • 2 years ago

    AWM, yes, the remote start for an oven makes sense for pre-heat. The delay start makes sense for your casserole. But since you have to put the dishes and detergent in the dishwasher before turning it on makes sense, a delay feature could be handy for the off=peak timing or maybe for after people leave the great room and go to bed, but what use is remote? How do you know that the kids having messed up the dishes? Even my folks' Miele has some wrong ways to load that make it work wrong. It seems like a bad idea in all. I mean, you get into bed and remember you forgot to put it on so you have to have remote start because returning to the kitchen is just so demanding? Most people who are disabled or limited mobility remember what they have to do better because it's important, but I suppose it would be useful for them....though the delay timer would work just as well without having it open to hackers...

  • 2 years ago

    I always liked a delay start for my DW or washing machine. We'd have 4 people taking baths in the evening, so just to ensure a hot water supply, I'd delay the DW or washing machine until the middle of the night. But no need for a remote for that.


    Hackers. My fear is ransomware, actually. It's so lucrative for the hackers. Most victims pay the ransom, so said an article in the WSJ. I can just imagine the appliance mfrs looking like a big juicy target. Can you imagine all the angry customers with bricked appliances & the pressure to get them fixed?

  • 2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    A current tv commercial shows a woman going to her clear-glass door frig, and knocking on it to turn the interior light on. She opens the door to get the ice. That's two steps, knock to turn on the light and then open the door. Opening the door turns on the light in my frig, obviously.

    I guess theoretically, you'd turn the light on to browse what you want before opening the door. It's just a silly commercial.

  • 2 years ago

    A delayed start doesn't need Internet connectivity. All of my 20 year old appliances have delayed start features, which are useful. Remote start by Internet connectivity (which, in the EU at least, carries a legal requirement that a button to be pressed on the appliance to activate it every time it is used - just in case a child or pet has climbed inside since you loaded it!) is just a pointless gimmick and, as others have commented, a security risk. Perhaps, if you don't mind a baked pooch when you get home, starting the oven from the store should be allowed. ;-)

  • 2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    We are at a very critical time in human history.

    Alexa / WIFI / 5G are just beginer's toys.

    Take a look at some videos by Boston Robotics. To me they are shocking.

    Do you know that facial recognition systems are widely used by many authorities without telling you?

    Do you know all the things your cell phone can do that they never tell you?

    Self-driving cars are here!

    The convergence of digital technologies will fundamentally alter societies.

    It can be good, it can be very bad. Technologies are so advanced in many countries, there is no possibility for many backward countries to ever catch up.------ digital genocide?

    5G? 6G is already being planned.

    dcarch

  • 2 years ago

    Did you hear about the computers at Google that they set to work together? They invented their own language.


    The biggest problem with all kinds of people recognition systems is that the darker your skin, the worse they are at their tasks. If this isn't fixed to 100% parity, the racism that's currently built into these nascent systems will create terrible and intractable consequences.


    I know I can program my stove and oven to do my bidding automatically, but I have no need to do so. The settings on my fridge and freezer are very well designed for human interaction. Except the water filter settings which could make an engineer cry. My DW may have a delay start, but I'd have to look it up. All of these conveniences are good. The ”smart” thermostat a friend got was so wrong, she had it replaced with analog, and the only thing that prevented her from shooting it to put it out of its misery was the no shooting in town law.


    I'm not a luddite. I have a first gen Echo in my kitchen. When my hands are messy, it takes my dictation, usually for shopping lists. When I'm out, my list is there in my devices. It also tells me what time it is and sets timers. Lots of little things the absence of a compliant teen leaves one to. I can turn my own lights on and off. I do not need the internet for that! Outdoor lights are on an analog clock timer. Hit the peg and flip the switch. So simple. So functional.