Smart ovens are switched on at night and preheat to 400 degrees

At least three smart June ovens are turned on in the middle of the night and heated to 400 degrees or higher. The owners of the ovens are not sure why this happened, and June tells The edge that user error is wrong. The company is planning an update that hopefully will remedy the situation and prevent it from happening again, but that change will not come until next month.

The owner's oven came on at 2:30 am and broke for hours at 400 degrees while he was sleeping, and he only noticed it when he awoke four hours later. The camera images from Nest captured the exact moment when it was switched on: the oven illuminates its dark, empty kitchen in a real life Black mirror-like recording. This owner says his wife baked a cake around 11.30 on the night of the preheating incident, but she turned the oven off when she took the cake out.

The June Oven debuted in 2015 as a $ 1,495 countertop oven that uses a camera and computer view to identify food placed in it. The company raised nearly $ 30 million in funding and released its second-generation version in 2018 for $ 599. It is billed as "seven devices in one": an air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, warming drawer and convection oven. It is also accompanied by an app that allows people to choose their temperature and cooking settings, and stream their food live while it is cooking thanks to the built-in camera.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Since the launch, competitors have emerged, including Tovala and Brava, all with the promise of making cooking easier. People can follow their food via an app, ensure that it is perfectly prepared and in some cases register on a food delivery plan that complements the oven. With that connected promise, however, there is a risk: the oven is always available through the tap of an app, which can be both good and bad. Of course, someone can turn off his oven from work if he realizes that he has left it on, but on the other hand they can accidentally turn on their oven in the middle of the night.

Two other June oven owners of the second generation have posted about similar external preheating incidents in a private Facebook group for June owners with just over 2,000 members, which was seen by The edge. The first documented pre-heating during the night took place in May. One group member wrote that he roasted potatoes one evening and let them cool in the oven. He apparently forgot to turn them off. The next morning he woke up and found that the oven was on at 1:20 am and had been baked at 425 degrees for four hours and 32 minutes. The potatoes, which were still in the oven, burned crispy. "If I hadn't left the potatoes overnight, I might not have realized that the & # 39; was on overnight," he wrote.

The fire department of New York City says "Unattended cooking" accounts for 33 percent of home fires, and those fires usually start when a stove or oven is near items that could catch fire, such as paper towels, or when food or grease remains in the oven. None of the June Oven owners reported fires.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

A third June owner wrote at the end of July that her phone woke her up at 6:30 am with a push notification that the oven had been preheated to 400 degrees and was ready to cook. She wrote that she had disconnected her June earlier every evening, after hearing the first reports about turning on the ovens in the middle of the night. "This is dangerous and unacceptable, and I certainly don't want this oven to go on while I'm on vacation," she wrote.

June CEO Matt Van Horn says owners, not the oven, are to blame. "We've seen some cases where customers have accidentally activated their oven preheating through a device, imagine your cell phone," he says The edge. "So imagine that in the June app I would click on recipes and accidentally tap on something that preheated my oven, we've seen a few cases."

In June an owner shipped a new oven in response, but said it was due to unrelated issues. The June support team blamed Amazon & # 39; s Alexa Assistant for another owner's unintended preheating and said it worked with the Alexa team to find out what happened. An owner says that he might have been able to tap something on the June app when he had closed all his apps that night before bedtime, and June says this has happened.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

"It is really a great feature to be able to pre-heat your oven remotely, and it is a completely new world that is very exciting and things are happening," says Van Horn. “People have always joked about the butt-dial, the way I didn't want to call you, so these are just the kind of things in software that we just have to take into account and build great features to keep our customers happy to make ."

At the time of the third incident, Van Horn placed in the Facebook group that the June team "takes accidental preheating seriously" and that they are working on tackling the problem.

Van Horn says the team will release an update in September that will allow owners to disable external preheats. However, remote starting of pre-heaters is still permitted as standard. Allowing owners to switch off their pre-heating remotely is a step in the right direction, but it cannot go far enough.

Next year, June plans to update its ovens with the ability to recognize when there is no food in it. The heating elements are switched off after a certain time if food is not detected. Van Horn says that the function works in the same way as when Netflix asks viewers if they are still watching something after a program has been automatically played for a while.

Although June blames the owners for remote preheating, not for hardware issues, the fact that these situations occurred primarily reflects the broader fear of connected devices. A connected oven may seem cool in the beginning, and in theory it's probably better to get a message about your oven instead of discovering it when you walk into the kitchen, but it also has the added risk of being preheated from the oven.

It is 2019, and these are the problems we have to struggle with: will I accidentally activate my oven while scrolling on my phone in bed?