Smart Home

 You may have heard the terms "Smart Home", "Smart Lamp", "Smart Plug" etc and wondered what they mean? Sometime ago we acquired an Alexa device (we now have several of these) and find it useful to listen to music or a radio station, but it can also be used to control remotely located so-called "Smart" items such as a socket, into which my electric blanket is plugged, by using voice commands. The manufacturers of the devices are faced with a major problem however.. and this is how to market and support their products to the general public. Equipping one's house with such products is fine if one is an electrical engineer or a computer expert, but very few of us are in that category.

To help install these gadgets and to dumb-down the process a number of buzz words and phrases have been invented viz. "App", short for "Application" which means a software program designed for a specific purpose, and for example, "Pairing" which means part of the process of logging on to one's local area network. All very well, but I'm afraid many of the companies selling the stuff are supported by relatively short-sighted technical people.

Take our latest acquisition.. a "smart" electric kettle. This product requires drivers which interface between a computer and the kettle. Because many people have a mobile phone the majority of Apps can only be installed on a mobile phone, or a mini-computer in the shape of an A5 page, such as an Amazon Fire, Kindle, iPad or whatever. All of these mini-computers and phones use an operating system just like a PC except much simpler. Typically the operating system might be what's referred to as "Android" and just like Windows will have teething problems, faults, and a team of programmers keen to stay employed forever and a day. This means that a new version of an operating system will be pushed into the marketplace on a regular basis. Unfortunately, because devices need to be kept up-to-date and competitive, you cannot just install a new Android version on an older device. This means that the operating system on your Fire or your mobile phone cannot be updated beyond a certain point (and therefore incompatible with the App you wish to install).

 Returning to the Smart Home equipment. These will be accompanied by an App, or at least to be exact, accompanied by instructions telling you from where the App can be obtained. Now we are in the hands of the technical team supporting the smart device. They will produce software for their device using whatever operating system is current. Say it's Android 5.. your phone is Android 3 and either a message will appear telling you to buy a new phone, or simply tell you you can't proceed, or even none of these and continue to install the software. In my case, with a new smart plug, the App installed but failed to make sense leaving me to just puzzle over what had gone wrong. After a whole day of trying to get my smart plug working I gave up and waited for a visit from my son who has a new phone. Within five minutes the new smart plug was working, although it did not work exactly as described in the instructions... that needed an electrical engineer (me) to work out the fine details.

I should mention instructions. The V-Tac plug came with instructions. These were printed in such a tiny font in grey on off-white that even a magnifying glass didn't help.

Looking back.. we already have two other smart plugs (different maufacturer) whose installation was impossible until my daughter with a brand new phone installed them easily.

 Now, the smart kettle... the instructions were on a folded card, very nicely laid out and very legible. I followed these to the letter and got an error message on my phone. Could it be the wireless connection? I re-did the link to my wireless network and tested my own website.. which worked fine so tried again to access the iKettle App but got the same error message. Not to be thwarted I tried my PC. Typing in the address provided I found the page was missing. The instructions referred to a page removed by the web-designer. Pity he didn't inform the guy writing the instructions! I looked on the smart kettle website and noticed their free phone was weekdays only.. cheapskates.. so tried their instant discussion link.. they weren't there but a message popped up to leave an email message. I followed the instructions and was rewarded with a reply... sorry we're away over the festive period till 2nd Jan. I replied in a very annoyed tone that it was 4th Jan and I was very disappointed.

The holiday finished and it was now after 4th January, but alas I got a message telling me that the phones were off the air having planned maintenance. I decided to use email. 

 Hi Allan, Thank you for contacting Smarter support!

Please note that we are now closed for the festive period until the 2nd January.

Emails will be checked during the festive period and anything urgent will be responded to.

In the meantime please check our support pages for troubleshooting.

Smarter Support


Dear Smarter Support

OK on being closed till the 2nd Jan but it’s the 4th January today.

I think the fact that the instructions are wrong is pretty bad considering the cost of the kettle. I’m very disappointed.

Why didn’t you add a redirect on your website rather than merely deleting the page /

Very unprofessional. I’m just a user of kettles not a computer whizz kid.


 Aaron (Smarter ) Jan 7, 12:32 GMT

Hi Allan,Thank you for your email.

We have had a backlog of tickets from being closed which means it is taking longer to reply.

Please see below link for the app you need.

Aaron, Smarter Support, 0800 802 1237


I’m afraid I do not understand the instructions etc

I copied the first link to my Amazon Fire and found the app but it said no device found or similar.

We plugged in the kettle and let Alexa discover devices but it didn’t find anything.

I’m stumped. I rang the 0800 number and its been turned off

What do I do now?



Aaron (Smarter ) Jan 8, 15:32 GMT

Hi Allan,Thank you for your reply.

Have you connected the kettle to the Smarter app yet?

This cannot be connected to Alexa until you have connected to the kettle via the app.

Aaron, Smarter Support, 0800 802 1237


What happens is this:

I find the kettle app on my Amazon Fire and it seems to install OK

It then tells me to exit the app and Alexa will find the device.

The Smarter App offers no options, it just accepted my registration details and tells me to exit and allow Alexa to find the kettle

I would have expected the Smarter App to ask me to load my router security code and also to pair but it doesn’t and nothing can persuade it to do so.

Alexa cannot find the kettle, obviously because the kettle doesn’t know my router security code and it’s not paired

I had a similar problem with a couple of new sockets.

The socket app refused to enter any dialogue and eventually my son came and paired the sockets using his own mobile phone

I tried pressing the button on the base of the kettle to see if Alexa could find it but it couldn’t. It flashes a few times and then after more pressing the water started to heat up so I turned it off.

I clicked on the link you sent me in the last email but as I’m using a PC for email your website told me I’m not compatible with the App.

I’m getting really fed up and I think this “Smarter” App is far from smart, it seems to be badly written and is letting down your company.

What do you suggest? I re-read the Quick Instructions and I just cannot understand them as they seem to be completely different to what I see when I install the App.

I tried ringing your phone number but you seem to have decided not to take phone calls. Is this because you’re inundated with unhappy customers and decided not to help them?



Aaron (Smarter ) Jan 9, 12:32 GMT

Hi Allan, Thank you for your reply.

Have you connected the kettle to the Smarter app yet via your Smart Phone?

Aaron, Smarter Support, 0800 802 1237


I tried to use my phone

It’s a Samsung but it does not seem to have an = sign in the letters and numbers so I cannot type in the address you gave me

Is there another link without an equals sign?

I’m getting fed up



Aaron (Smarter ) Jan 9, 14:20 GMT

Hi Allan, Thank you for your reply.

Via your phone you need to go to the Google play store, type in Smarter and it will come up to download.

The only way you can use the kettle via Alexa is if you first connect it to the app on your wifi.

Without this you will not be able to use Alexa.

You could also open the link via email if you have that on your phone.

Aaron, Smarter Support, 0800 802 1237


 I went to google store and found iKettle, selected then selected install which it said it did then selected Open, put water in the kettle and plugged it in.

Selected Next and Home network (recommended) had a green dot in it.

Selected Next and a blue light flashed on and off on the kettle base with a beep

Then a message: Sorry the application ikettle (processcom.venturelane.ikettle) has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.

I tried a few times and got exactly the same results

Why are there no instructions with the kettle?

Now I’m about to take the kettle to Trading Standards as it seems to be a confidence trick unless you can tell me properly how to use it



Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 9, 18:04 GMT

Hi Allan, The reason you cannot set it up is that you are not following the instructions that I have provided.

The app you need is the Smarter 3.0 app which works with the latest version of the kettle.

It has a white logo on a black background.

Once you have this app you will be able to set up the kettle.

Aaron, Smarter Support, 0800 802 1237


Hi Aaron

Your Quick setup guide does tell me to search for iKettle in the App store.

This is why I installed iKettle. I did in fact search for Smarter as you suggested and this did not produce any options other than iKettle.

You did not, I repeat did not mention “Smarter 3.0” so how could I follow that instruction when you did not mention it?

Last night I used my PC to investigate what’s going on.

This did supply several Apps including iKettle and your Smarter 3.0

The Google procedure I used allowed me to install any of those Apps onto my mobile phone remotely, however all but iKettle said the App was not compatible with my phone, which it said correctly was a Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 GT-I8160.

I now suspect that the reason for my difficulties is the phone will not install Smarter 3.0, or if it does the App will crash or otherwise fail to run.

The reason a search for Apps as you suggested did not give me the option of Smarter 3.0 was because it is not compatible with my phone.

Further, if I use Google’s search facility it takes me to a browser used by Google for this purpose and immediately comes up with the message “browser not supported by your phone”

The option that does work is to not select their Internet search option, but to use their Store search. Clearly, their store search filters Apps to offer ONLY those compatible with my phone.

This is confirmed when I register the phone with Google and it then lists all the Apps but with the note that only one is compatible with my phone ie. iKettle.

As your setup guide does ask me to install iKettle I naturally expected it to work, but clearly that iKettle App does not recognise my kettle, hence it comes up with an error report.

Was this instruction to install iKettle in your setup guide a mistake? Or was the wrong leaflet put in the box?

You should clearly inform kettle purchasers, say on the box in large writing, the minimum requirement for their phone.

I can see that to specify the operating system by name and issue might be a problem for your non-technical staff that produces the box, but surely you have this Quick setup guide.

Now we get to the real problem. You say you must install the App to read detailed instructions. If you can’t load the App you cannot read those instructions.

Why on earth don’t you add a decent set of instructions in the box. A QUICK SETUP GUIDE presupposes a SLOW version and if this is within the App it becomes a catch 22.

What do you suggest now? Clearly from what you have said I cannot proceed unless you get this infernal App rewritten to work with earlier versions of Android, for example.

Finally. Nowhere in your box is included anything on how to use the kettle. How do I turn it on? How do I turn it off?

I am now concerned the thing is at risk in terms of safety. Will it come on with no water in it?



Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 10, 16:49 GMT

HI Allan,

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that our app is not compatible with the current phone you have which is as you have confirmed why you cannot find the app.

My apologies but it seems there was a miscommunication and I was not aware that this was the phone you were using to try and set up the kettle.

To turn the kettle on you simply press the round button on the base.

In terms of boiling dry, the kettle has a built-in feature that if there is no water it will shut off after 15 seconds, all standard kettles have this built-in but the shutoff time is 21 seconds,

If you need anything else please let me know.

Aaron, Smarter Support, 0800 802 1237

 No luck I’m afraid Aaron.

My son visited and he has a new Android phone.

He downloaded your Smarter 3.0 App and it got further on his phone than on my Amazon Fire.

It wouldn’t load on my old phone, but early on it installed on my Fire but kept crashing.

Today, it asked for me to log on.

I did this but it kept crashing after putting in the password and continuing.

I asked it to give me a new password and I changed this using my PC, given the link in the email.

We tried logging on again and it accepted the new password but then a message came up to the effect the App had stopped working (just like before).

We must have tried 4 times and each time the App crashed.

I then suggested we try iKettle as that is the App in your Quick setup booklet.

This installed correctly but we couldn’t get it any further than looking for the kettle network.

We also tried the direct network method suggested in the App but that also failed.

The final time for each App we took the kettle to the same room as the router but no luck.

My son looked at the status of your App and it seems it was updated late December 2019 and he reckoned it had been released with a fault.

I tried pressing the button and the kettle did come on and heat the water so I guess the kettle is serviceable but your App is not.

What do you suggest now?

To say I’m fed up is an understatement.


 Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 13, 16:30 GMT

Hi Allan,

Thank you for your reply,.

Did your son try and connect directly to his phone or still via your PC?

It will not work if you do it via your pc as it required the phone to transmit details directly to the kettle base.

You would need to follow the in app instructions on that phone for it to connect.


Smarter Support

0800 802 1237

 I’m trying my best to be clear Aaron.

As I said, my son used his phone and the App kept crashing.

We thought we may be typing the password in wrongly or incorrectly so he requested a password change.

As my email uses outlook on my PC, once I received the email, I changed the pw using my PC.

Back to my son’s phone.

We tried the new password using Smarter 3.0 on his phone but the App still crashed in the same way so it was nothing to do with the password and my registration details.

My PC as you will be aware will not run the App because I use Windows 7 and not Android.

Surely you can understand that?

We are of the opinion the App is very badly written and is letting your product down in a big way.

I suggest you drop “smarter”.

I do not know what else we can do.


 Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 14, 14:25 GMT

Hi Allan,

Thank you for your reply.

We have not had any reports of the app crashing on sign up.

Can you confirm what app he was using along with the android device he was setting up with?


Smarter Support

0800 802 1237

 As I said Aaron, the App we tried was Smarter 3.0 and my son’s phone is a Samsung about 18 months old.

Signing up was OK. I did this using my Amazon Fire which I think is a version 7.

Are you suggesting we need a specific phone in order to get the kettle working, in which case why doesn’t it say this in the supplied document?

Also, re-reading the Quick setup guide, it mentions “Connection light status”…orange, red, green and white lights.

The only light I can see is an orange light underneath the stand.

Are we talking about the same kettle?


 Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 14, 17:14 GMT

Hi Allan,

The Samsung device should be fine as long as its fairly up to date, what email address did you use to sign up?

Yes that is correct, the kettle has a LED light at the bottom of the base which starts as orange and goes to green when connected.

I will check your account to make sure that is in order and we can go from there.


Smarter Support

0800 802 1237

 Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 15, 11:03 GMT

Hi Allan,

The account looks fine.

Would you be able to get your son to reinstall the app and try again.

If it crashes can you get him to do a screen recording so I can see why the app might be crashing.


Smarter Support

0800 802 1237

 My son will not be here for a week or so but my daughter is visiting us on Saturday.

She has an iPhone which might fare better?

Please tell me the minimum issue or version of Android that your Smarter 3.0 App runs on.

Also, does the App accept the address of the router or does it search through standard network addresses. For example our network uses addresses in the range to 255 with the router address

What frequency range does the kettle use?

I’ll understand because I’ve been in the computer business since 1965.


 Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 16, 09:22 GMT

Hi Allan,

Thank you for your reply.

In all honestly both phones in general work the same but I am hoping the app does not crash when your daughter gives this a try.

It uses the router address to search for the wifi network and connects the kettle to that.

Sorry what do you mean frequency? the kettle does not broadcast a signal but uses the app and wifi to connect, the flashing light that the phone has during blink up feeds the wifi info to the kettle.


Smarter Support

0800 802 1237

 Wi-Fi is the method used by computers to interconnect. It uses radio frequency signals which were historically around 2.4GHz in frequency (similar to a microwave oven which uses very high power 2.4GHz signals to cook stuff).

Recently, because of congestion and shortage of radio channels a new band at 5GHz has been introduced.

Wi-Fi is a trademark which doesn’t stand for anything in particular although some people think the Fi bit means Fidelity… it doesn’t.

It’s important to know whether your kettle uses the 2.4GHz or the 5GHz band because a router having only 2.4GHz will not receive transmissions in the 5GHz band.

Your kettle both transmits (ie broadcasts) and receives radio frequency signals but to what spec?

I hope this is clear?


 Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 16, 13:44 GMT

Hi Allan,

Thank you for your reply.

The kettle requires a 2.4ghz signal only to connect, if you try and connect with a 5ghz signal it will not work.


Smarter Support

0800 802 1237

OK, that’s the original and all routers handle 2.4GHz


 Aaron (Smarter )

Jan 16, 14:31 GMT

Hi Allan,

Yes they do but when you choose a network to connect to the kettle has to connect to 2.4ghz only.

If you do not split and 5ghz is being emitted then the kettle will fail, I have added some info below that explains why.


Smarter Support

0800 802 1237

 Hello Allan,

We’re just wondering if you've had a chance to review the latest update from your support request 73714 : My daughter bought me an ikettle and the instructi...?

We would appreciate if you could reply when convenient. :)

If we don't hear back from you in the next 24 hours we’ll solve this ticket.

If your issue persists after this, please don't hesitate to open a new support ticket with us at any time.


Smarter Support

 We finally managed to get the kettle working.

It was not easy.

My own phone wouldn’t download the Smarter 3.0 app.

My son’s newer phone installed the App but didn’t find the network.

My daughter’s phone installed Smarter 3.0 but in order to proceed we had to change my account password, this was the third time I’d done this.

Having changed the password via my PC, the App on my daughter’s phone finally recognised my account and opened the App.

This time the screen flashed at a regular rate and recognised the kettle. My son’s phone didn’t get that far (the screen did not flash).

Once the kettle had been linked to my network it responded to Alexa but it has only a limited repertoire, Turn on and Set to 85 or 100 degrees.

In my opinion you are remiss in not specifying exactly which minimum Android version is required to run the App successfully.

You are also failing because the App does not run on a generic Android phone.

It is ridiculous to release the App designed to run on only the very latest phones. Why not get your developer to write the software on a basic version of Android. It would save a lot of messing around and reduce significantly user problems.

Your telephone help option is useless. First the line was down for maintenance then, when open, it wasn’t offering help; only accepting call-backs if you left a phone number. I called, left my number and received no call-back. This is totally unacceptable.

Finally, the instructions that came with the kettle carried almost entirely bad information. The reference to the location of the App was wrong, the name of the App was wrong and the coloured light information was completely misleading.

It’s a real pity because the kettle appears to be of good quality but the operating software is ill-thought out and useless as far as I’m concerned because our mobile phone is circa 3 years old.


Allan Isaacs B.Eng., CEng., M.I.E.T.

 So there you go... these new fangled "smart" things are far from smart and you may need to buy a new phone if you'd like to try one. Usually, I wait for one of my children or grandchildren to visit as they all have newish phones. Our phone of course is a hand-me-down... from one of them. The same apparently goes for our Kindle.. because it's not the latest model it can't handle smart stuff. Below the kettle leaflet...

One of the things that wasn't clear is you can't install the kettle with it in place and filled with water because the base needs to be turned upside down so you can see a red flashing light. During the process you are presented with a flashing display on the mobile phone. The phone then needs to be pressed against the underside of the kettle base until the red flashing light changes. Because none of the devices I tried, until the last phone (which is quite new) was tried we couldn't get as far as the flashing screen. The leaflet that came with the kettle should have given the minimum version of Android needed to use the kettle plus the steps required to set it up. It just says "Android device".

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