Why smart home tech should do your shopping

The connected home is catching on and brands are wising up to smart technology and incorporating it in their latest products.

The good, the bad and the ugly

We’ve seen some great and extremely useful tech such as smart thermostats (so you can control your heating when you’re not at home) and smart fridge-freezers (that have a camera inside so you can check if you’re running low on milk).

We’ve also seen some inventions that just seem like a novelty, such as Google glass (a headset with a direct link to Google so it can translate from a different language in real-time and give you a map of the stars, for example). Twitter was also amused this week by the story of the man who bought a smart kettle, which took 11 hours to configure so he ended up having to boil water in a saucepan just to make a brew.

Tweet about smart kettle trying to configure

Let’s be logical

As gimmicky and cool as a smart kettle may be, it’s not really doing much to improve your life. I feel smart technology is wasted unless it actually solves a recurring problem we encounter every day. So here’s my idea: point of need shopping.

Amazon have touched on this with their ‘Dash’ button, but pushing a button is just a lazier version of ordering it yourself – so what if you didn’t need to order at all?

The big idea

Bear with me; imagine you have smart containers of various sizes around your home. You connect them up to your Wi-Fi and you configure them to order more of whatever they’re holding. This could be teabags, toilet roll, batteries, dishwasher or washing machine tablets or, ladies, tampons. Plus, there should be dispenser versions of the smart box too for your washing up liquid, liquid soap and toothpaste.

Basically the idea is that they should be configured by weight to recognise when they’re nearly empty and automatically order some more based on the settings you gave them during set up. This means you’ll never even have to notice when you’re running low on something, you’ll just know it when more of it shows up at your door.

This isn’t a novelty; this isn’t a fad; this is something that could actually be useful to people’s everyday lives. You’ll never be stuck on the toilet again realising you’ve used your last roll; you’ll never be stuck without dishwasher tablets or washing up liquid again.

container full of penne pasta

Why stop there?

It doesn’t just have to be used for everyday essentials. The smart box could be used for your chocolate or biscuit stash, healthy snacks, cereal – anything you repeat-buy. This is not just a useful tool for the forgetful among us, it’s also a great asset to people with mobility issues, who may not be able to get to the shops. I know I would get a few of these smart boxes for my house; how about you?