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Hi, my name is Matt Baxter-Reynolds (@mbrit)

I help CxOs and entrepreneurs understand what's happening to the computing industry, and society in general, as we transition to a post-PC world. (Learn about this transition...)

Because post-PC is about life and not about work, it's a shift that's as much about sociology as technology -- we all have to become "technology sociologists".

I write books, blog on this site and at ZDNet, run workshops, and consult. In the real-world, I live and work in the UK. In the digital world, like everyone, I'm global.

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The case for the internet-connected fridge

Internet fridge

Perhaps the worst idea in the history of technology is the internet-connected fridge.

The idea, and it’s been around for at least a decade-and-a-half, is that your fridge will know what’s in it and be able to do things like order milk when you’re running low. Or, it’ll be able to suggest recipes based on what you happen to have sitting in it, slowly going off.

It’s madness. People don’t think, or work like that.

Anyway, on Wednesday last week I was at the a BLN’s “CEO Tales” talk on the Internet of Things and Big Data. One of the panelists — and I apologise for forgetting which one — came up with the only good reason for the internet connected fridge.

As we know, there are spikes in the use of electricity networks. For the past few decades these have been tied to television consumption, the typical example being that when a given popular show ends, people get up to make a cup of tea, and demand spikes. Power stations like Dinorwig in Wales switch on to cover that demand.

The panelist’s point was that an internet connected fridge could make a decision to turn off its compressor synchronised to that demand, creating an “anti-spike” that covers the spike, smoothing out demand.

And I hate to say it, that is a very clever idea.