Kitchen fires are a problem.
According to National Fire Protection Association, almost half of all home fires are caused by cooking equipment. Most of those are due to inattention, either because we get distracted, busy or may be suffering from some age-induced memory issue.
But here’s the good news: there are a new crop of companies trying to bring modern approaches to kitchen fire prevention. The newest of these companies is Wallflower, which announced their Smart Monitor kitchen fire monitoring product this week.
The Wallflower is slightly different than the other kitchen fire-prevention devices launched over the past couple years in that it’s a lower-cost, alerting-only system. The others, like InnoHome and Inirv, automatically shut-off the stove in addition to alerting the home owner.
Why did Wallflower decide to make an alert-only system? According to company CEO Victor Jablokov, the main reason was to provide a lower-cost device with simple features. He explains their thinking in a Medium post:
“One of the biggest challenges companies face when developing new products is deciding which features to release first. Every feature, no matter how small, must be scrutinized to judge its benefits to the end customer. Smart companies know that must-have features should make it into the first release, and nice-to-have features don’t. Too many companies make the mistake of piling every possible feature on their first product. Usually, that ends up making the product more expensive, more complicated, and more confusing than necessary. The end result? Weak sales.”
According to Jablokov, not having a shut-off feature wasn’t that big a deal with beta testers. He said, almost without exception, everyone who received an alert was close enough to come and shut off their stoves themselves.
This makes sense. To me it’s analogous to a smoke alarm or a DIY home security system, where alerts are intended to get the home owner to take action.
That said, I think many will be willing to pay extra for the a fire prevention device that will shut off their stove, especially those who suffer from mobility issues or just just want an extra layer of prevention.