A WiFi kettle and the quest for tea – and data

The internet of things is fascinating - but a little unreliable, as one Brighton resident found out when trying to brew a cup of tea.

Oh, us wacky Brits, with our quaint ways. Like voting ourselves out of Europe and crashing our currency. And our obsession with tea.

It’s hard for many Brits to consider the day underway until they’ve had their very first cup of tea. And that’s exactly the bind that Mark Rittman found himself in when attempting to make his morning cuppa with a new, WiFi-enabled cuppa.

And what followed was hours of nightmare debugging:

Mark has told the whole story at length on Medium:

I had a number of requests from national newspapers, TV and radio for interviews and clearly the story struck a chord with readers with the additional angle of an Englishman so obsessed with his tea that he’d spend all day and night fixing his WiFi kettle and then making it voice controlled, whereas it’s really a story about the value of connecting smart devices together and how hard it still is to do that now, as I made abundantly clear over the series of tweets I posted during the day.

So… wait. It wasn’t just about that crucial craving for sweet brown joy?

Apparently not:

And the purpose of all this? Well part of it is obviously my interest in gadgets, but it’s mainly to see what can be done with the data these devices produce and combine it with other data we increasingly log using wearables, smartphone apps and social media sites to give better insights into the lives we lead, make our smart devices even smarter, help carers and health organizations provide better services and support for the elderly and vunerable … or in my case, help me exercise more and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

A worthy idea – but apparently we’re still just a smidgin too far away from “it just works”.

Ah well. Fancy a brew anyone?