Two smart oven companies — Tovala and Brava — want you to know their ovens aren’t capable of accidentally turning on in the middle of the night, like a few June Ovens recently did.
I wrote yesterday about how three June Ovens turned on overnight, preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and remained on until their owners noticed when they awoke the next morning. June CEO Matt Van Horn attributed the remote baking cycles to user error, saying that owners accidentally triggered their ovens to start cooking and never realized it. Tovala says a few concerned customers have since reached out about the possibility that they could accidentally remotely trigger their ovens to start baking, but both Brava and Tovala say that their ovens require owners to physically push a start button. Neither offer remote preheating or cooking.
Brava, which relies on targeted light to cook, says owners can remotely turn off the oven, but not turn it on. “Brava cannot fire its lamps unless it is authorized with a physical button push, making it impossible for any users (and even hackers with malicious intents) to activate Brava without physically being in front of it or physically having access to Brava’s circuit boards,” the company said in a statement to The Verge.
Tovala also said its ovens require a physical button push to start. “While you can program a recipe or custom cooking cycle from the Tovala mobile app, you still need to physically push the start button on your Tovala oven in order for the oven to start cooking or preheating,” CEO David Rabie says. “We’ve put this measure in place to make sure there is an added layer of safety for our customers.”
June’s CEO said the company is going to issue an update next month to give users the power to turn off remote preheating, even though it’s one of the oven’s selling points. Allowing for remote preheats will still be the default setting, too. The company is also going to incorporate a feature next year that’ll give the ovens the ability to recognize when there isn’t any food inside. The heating elements will be turned off after a certain amount of time if food isn’t detected. Van Horn says the feature will work similarly to when Netflix asks viewers if they’re still watching something after a program has been automatically playing for a while.
I’ve reached out to Amazon and its Alexa team for more clarification on its rules around remote oven triggers, given that June blamed an errant Alexa command for one customer’s remote preheat incident. I’ll update this story if we hear back. But the bigger takeaway definitely seems to be that ovens that can be turned on by the tap of an app or a spoken voice command probably aren’t a great idea, and at least two companies have realized this.