Have you ever been in that situation where you fancy a nice cup of Joe but just cant be bothered to get up off the couch and make one. Welcome to the world of smart technology with either a smart coffee maker or a regular coffee maker with a smart plug. Imagine, shouting to Alexa, Google home or if you can shout loud enough to reach the kitchen, “Make me a coffee!”. That reality is here with smart plugs, so read on for the low down on how to use a smart plug with a coffee maker for your brew.
Today, we are truly in the midst of Industry 4.0, a far cry from the first industrial revolution’s moves towards automation driven by steam and water. Instead, we live in an age where the physical and cyber world is increasingly in communication with each other which has led to the phenomenon of the ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT.
IoT describes a range of physical objects that come fitted with sensors, software and a capability to connect to the internet. This allows those previously ‘silent’ objects to exchange data about their status, as informed by their sensor systems, to other similarly connected objects to form a network. This network then provides opportunities for automation and control of connected objects to work in concert together.
Last update on 2021-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Take for example ‘smart refrigerators’, many of which are available on the market for consumers to purchase right now, despite sounding distinctly science fiction. Smart fridges look like and have the same function of a normal fridge but through their connectivity abilities, via an app, unlock a wealth of features at your fingertips. For example, if you are a serial leaving-the-fridge-door-opener, sensors on the smart fridge door communicate with the app to alert you to the open door, saving energy and preventing your food going off. Top range models even allow you to see what the fridge contains remotely, handy if you are halfway through the weekly shop and can’t remember if you have milk in or not.
Even if the smart fridge is still a little far out to some, smart technology applied to utilities like light and heating is more established and can in many ways be seen as the next iteration of the thermostat.
These technologies allow for you to set the heat and lighting remotely and at different levels and times, for example as you leave work, you could switch on the heating at home before you leave so the house is nice and warm on your arrival.
IoT certainly isn’t going anywhere with a reported 47% of people in the US alone already owing such smart devices and a $40 billion market set to expand to a huge $141 billion by 2023 .
However, cost of smart appliances is a drawback to some with smart appliances costing significantly more that their ‘dumb’ cousins. If you are wanting to harness the benefits of IoT, a saving on time and energy and more control, but don’t want to stretch the purse strings too far, you may want to consider a smart plug.
This device looks like a normal adapter that you plug into your outlet but is Wifi enabled and readily connected to your phone via an app. When you plug your normal device into the smart plug, they are converted into smart appliances, allowing you to control them from your phone for the fraction of a cost.
Coffee makers make a particularly good pairing with a smart plug, especially if you drink coffee on a regular basis. Read on to help you decide if a smart plug will be the next addition to your kitchen.
Smart Plugs As a Small But Simple Solution
As mentioned previously, the all singing, all dancing features of some smart appliances such as the fridge aren’t for everyone but the smart plug means you don’t have to loose out. Sitting discreetly in your outlet, the smart plug allows you to keep your existing coffee maker whilst still being able to access the benefits of smart technology. In general, normal coffee machines have a smaller footprint than their smart equivalents, so keeping your existing machine may save space on your counter as well as being a less wasteful solution than discarding an already functioning coffee maker in favour of a smart appliance. A perfect compromise!
The Smart Plug ‘Teasmade’ Effect
Chances are, if you are of a certain vintage, that you remember the old Teasmade machines that allow you to set a wakeup alarm on the machine the night before, waking you up with a freshly brewed pot of tea. If you’re a) more of a coffee person and b) want something a little more up to date, look to plugging your coffee machine into a smart plug as this will also allow you to pre-set when you want your coffee to be made. This modern technology goes further still by allowing you to apply these pre-settings remotely. Similar to the heating scenario detailed above, if you’ve had a hard day’s work and are looking forward to a boost when you get home, you can ask your coffee maker to have that cup ready for when you arrive home.
Smart Plug Integration
If you already have a smart ecosystem set up at home, perhaps through a smart assistant, adding your coffee maker to your home network is made possible through a smart plug. This can be helpful to people who have a set routine; going back to the scenario above where a cup can be ready for you after work, perhaps the person who wants this also regularly has their smart heating switched on in time for when they reach home. Incorporating your coffee maker into this network could allow both of these processes to happen automatically together in one swipe, making for a more efficient process, saving time and effort.
Not all coffee makers come with the useful auto-off feature that switches the machine off when it has been idle for a while. If your coffee maker doesn’t and you often forget to switch it off after use, a smart plug can confer the benefit of auto-off to your machine, saving money and making for a greener product.
Smart plugs aren’t as well known as standalone smart devices so you may have some questions. Some frequently asked questions are:
Which coffee makers work with smart plugs?
Thankfully, smart plugs work with pretty much any device so it shouldn’t matter which coffee maker you use a smart plug with. However, consider whether your machine has a physical switch or electric one. If it’s the latter, when you switch the machine off at the smart plug, the machine will remain off even when you switch the plug on until you press the on button on the coffee maker. With physical switches, it should come on with the plug assuming you have left the switch on the machine in the on position. A minor annoyance, but worth bearing in mind.
How do I get my smart plug to work?
Smart plugs are really simple to use. Just plug them into your power outlet, flip the switch and pair to your wifi network as you would with any other device such as a smart phone. Plug the device you want to control into the smart plug and download the smart plug’s app which should allow you to control the plugged in device.
Which are the best smart plugs to buy?
Smart plugs vary from one another in size, capabilities, and brand. It may be for example that you already have Amazon’s ecosystem set up at home. In that case, it makes sense to buy Amazon’s smart plug which can only communicate with Alexa. Or, if you have a lot of devices that you want to make smart, a larger plug that can safely accommodate multiple devices is to be recommended. Consider your needs then shop around! To help, take a look at our top 3 recommendations at the top of the article.
Hopefully this article has convinced you of the benefits of smart plugs as a simple way of getting the benefits of IoT at a fraction of the cost and removing the commitment of buying dedicated smart appliances. Consider getting one to see if it could revolutionise your coffee drinking whilst making your home that bit more efficient