A married mother of two children whose activities include soccer, baseball, basketball, ballet, and Irish step dancing, Jacobian also works at the Boston Stock Exchange. “Every mother needs a wife,” she says, mulling her hectic schedule. Even a virtual soul mate will do. She jumped at the chance to take part in Mealtime, a four-month test sponsored by the Internet Home Alliance. It will use 20Bostonfamilies to test the digital kitchen concept. Jacobian can use her Net-enabled refrigerator to order groceries through Peapod Inc. Her local Stop & Shop will deliver it within hours. And she can watch movies or listen to music on a flip-down screen incorporated in the iCEBOX Web-enabled kitchen entertainment center. “I’m just hoping they’ll figure out a way to do my taxes,” she quips.
The kitchen remains uncharted territory on the digital frontier. Yet, as many a party host has noticed, no matter how often you steer guests to the living room, they always end up in the kitchen. Sears, for one, has smelled the potential in that trend. It sells 38% of all the appliances in theU.S., and like others, believes there are millions to be made in wired white goods. Sears also anticipates millions in savings if it can apply remote diagnostics to servicing refrigerators, stoves, and washing machines. In-stat/MDR predicts that 370,000 Net-connected appliances will be sold in 2007 worldwide, up from 13,000 in 2002.
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