Monday, January 25, 2010

What our dishwasher knows about my family

End of last year our dishwasher suddenly "behaved". An error message was on its display and the water pump was running continuously. Pressing the OFF button didn't change anything. After consulting the user manual, we followed the suggested 2-step approach:

0.) (Don't panic)
1.) Shut off the fuse switch if you are sure there is no water damage.
2.) Call the service.

We were lucky to have the manufacturer service in our house already the next afternoon. Instead of opening the dishwasher, a suction cup with an inductive reader got attached to the machine's control panel. A second later the first data appeared on the technician's ThinkPad (yes) and I heard "above average usage". The dishwasher had been sniffing into our family life and was able to report its hours of duty and some details. Combined with the purchase date this gave an impression of how often it is used per day.

This got me thinking. What other of the electric household appliances are spying on us? If someone is reading out all of them, what picture would that give? What machine would be my biggest enemy? Let me know your machines and what data they can collect.

BTW: The service visit was free of charge and the dishwasher is running better than ever.


David S. ( @seemsartless ) said...

Wow, I had no idea dishwashers were so smart! Here in Toronto we have Smart electricity meters installed, and were part of the Google pilot.

Fascinating that there is a URL where we can go to see near-realtime electricity usage. The weekends when we're away are VERY obvious when you look at the graph.

Henrik Loeser said...

With the smart meters it is interesting to see how much energy is just consumed for "idle".

Apparently, there are some household appliances who are even network-connected. But not in our household.


how to ollie said...

Excellent post and writing style. Bookmarked.


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