Just imagine: You're out for happy hour drinks with work friends and you realize that you're going to be home two hours later than you anticipated, and your Crock-Pot is bubbling merrily along on HIGH. Is anyone else home yet? Should you rush home, even though the whole point of the slow cooker is that you shouldn't have to do that? Nope. Just use your iPhone.
Introducing the first of surely many more remote-controlled appliances to come: the Crock Pot WeMo Slow Cooker from Belkin.
WeMo makes a whole range of home automation devices; their products connect to home wifi and their app allows users to control home electronics directly from a smartphone. Many of the first applications of this technology were very home focused — allowing you to turn off lights or control the thermostat remotely. Now they're getting into the kitchen by partnering with Crock-Pot, Mr. Coffee, Sunbeam, and other appliance makers.
So, let's look at the pros and cons here. On the one hand, it's pretty great to be able to adjust temperature and set timers on your cooking device wherever you are. Also, Belkin gave the Crock-Pot a style update; that silver and black is a little more sleek than other models we've seen.
And then there are some even more nerdy yet interesting possibilities with this technology. Ready to really geek out with me here? WeMo also works with IFTTT, a service that allows users to create equations with a whole host of online apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Evernote. I personally use this customizable service to text me the weather every morning, but it's possible to program something even stranger or more useful. Imagine programming your slow cooker to automatically tweet at you when it's turned itself off.
But. (And this is a big but.) Many slow cookers include the capability to be programmed in a more old-fashioned yet simple way. You can set many slow cookers to cook for a certain amount of time, then turn automatically to WARM or LOW. This is essentially exactly what the iPhone app would do, right? So what's the benefit of being able to do it remotely, other than giving you more flexibility?
Is the slow cooker the best use of this technology, or are there other kitchen appliances you'd prefer to have linked to your iPhone?
More on the iPhone-connected slow cooker
What do you think of this? Would you be interested in controlling appliances with your smartphone?
(Image credits: Belkin)