Having connected bulbs and thermostats can be convenient and almost harmless when things go wrong. When you take the Internet of Things to stoves and ovens, however, you are taking things to a whole new level, especially when it comes to safety. Some homeowners might be a bit wary of such hi-tech cooking equipment and three cases of June Ovens turning on in the middle of the night are doing nothing to assuage their fears. June’s response, however, is also classic.
Launched in 2015, June was one of the first startups to jump on the IoT trend when smart home appliances were still a new thing. It had a relatively successful run, enough to put out a second generation of connected ovens last year. In both cases, June’s Ovens offered users the convenience of remote access and remote control of their ovens via cameras, computer vision, and an Internet connection.
Those features, however, are both an asset and a liability. As easy as it is to turn on and heat the oven from a smartphone, it is also apparently easy for the oven to do so without any conscious or manual direction by users. At least three users have reported that their June Ovens preheated overnight at dangerous temperatures, two of them without any food inside. All three users claim they did not turn on or set the oven at all.
June CEO Matt Van Horn lays the fault on the users, claiming they have been accidentally activated by users without their knowledge. He even makes a reference to butt dialing, implying the same unconscious or accidental tapping of the screens. By the third incident, Van Horn posted on Facebook that the company takes accidental preheating seriously.
Regardless of whose fault it is, it doesn’t excuse equipment makers for not putting safeguards for such incidents. June does promise that it will utilize the oven’s built-in camera and machine learning to determine whether there is really food in the oven and stop preheating empty air overnight.