Introducing the Williams-Sonoma Smart Thermometer

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Introducing the Williams-Sonoma Smart Thermometer

This week, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the Williams-Sonoma Smart Thermometer, a tool that takes all the guesswork out of perfectly cooked meals. Our product development team worked for more than two years to create the first Wi-Fi-enabled kitchen thermometer in the world — just in time for Thanksgiving!

 

The Smart Thermometer connects to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch using our app and tracks the temperature of your food as it cooks for the best results time after time. Just place the probe in your meat (the app will show you where) and the Smart Thermometer will anticipate the cooking time that remains, sending updates to your phone so you’re not tied to the kitchen. You can even schedule start times for side dishes using custom alerts so your whole meal is done at the same time, and use timers to track tasks like basting the turkey and chilling the wine. Finally, you can post pictures on Facebook and Twitter to share your successes and save your notes to recreate great meals.

 

Introducing the Williams-Sonoma Smart Thermometer!

“We wanted to create the world’s first Wi-Fi leave-in kitchen thermometer,” said Project Manager Christina Teng. “The current options for thermometers require opening and closing the oven, losing residual heat and tying you to the kitchen. This project aimed to provide customers with a way to leverage their existing devices and track cooking temperatures — after all, we carry our iPhones and iPads around all the time.”

 

“The initial thought was simple – what if we could not only ensure a perfectly cooked meal, but also allow you to step away from the kitchen?” added Ian Allan, Director of Global Products. ”You could mingle with your guests, enjoy an aperitif, and not miss a minute of the big game. Then we started to build on this vision… What if you could also time all the other components of the meal so that everything was ready at the right moment? What if you could add notes to exactly remember what you did last time? What if you could share this with your guests who ask for the recipe at the end of the successful meal? What if we could show you exactly where to place the probe, or that your meal should rest? We’re so proud to say that we managed to incorporate all of these ‘what if’s’ and deliver a truly amazing product.”

 

This launch is the culmination of almost three years of work by our product development team, who’ve seen 15 different evolutions of it. They worked with technology engineers for the Wi-Fi piece, thermometer manufacturers to build a durable casing, and a design firm to create a user-friendly app that goes beyond tracking oven temperatures and really revolutionizes meal planning.

 

“We wanted to help customers coordinate their meals a little better,” Christina said. “When I cook, I use the oven timer, microwave timer, and peripheral timers, but now they’re all in one place. Also, the alerts help customers predict when their food will be finished. If the turkey is an hour and a half out, you can set an alert to start sauteing your green beans at 30 minutes. We’re trying not to tether customers to their kitchens and giving them confidence that they’re doing things in a timely manner.”

 

During development, the team realized that many people don’t understand where to place a thermometer’s probe in different cuts of meat, so they added an education feature to show exactly where it belongs.

 

“When I used that feature, I realized I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time!” said Amanda Haas, our Test Kitchen Manager. “Ever since I’ve used the Smart Thermometer method, I’ve had perfectly cooked meat every time. I love that I can also add notes as I cook, so I can remember when I basted meat, if I brined it, and so on.”

 

In the testing phase, our product development team cooked 50 chickens, 20 turkeys and countless other proteins, like meatloaf, rib roasts and lamb.

 

“I will not be making a turkey this Thanksgiving — I’ve had enough!” Christina told us, laughing. “But whatever I do cook, I’ll definitely use the timers and alerts on the Smart Thermometer. I know I can go and do other things and not be restricted to the kitchen.”

 

Watch Amanda demonstrate how to use our Smart Thermometer in the video below:

 

Read more about the Smart Thermometer here.

 

 

25 comments about “Introducing the Williams-Sonoma Smart Thermometer

  1. amie dockett

    what about android phones? the apple products are not the only thing out there.

    Reply
    1. Mike griffin

      Let me know when android is available. I will just have to pry my wife’s ipad out of her hands.

      Reply
  2. Jake

    It’s a very nice, solid, and well though out thermometer.

    Too bad it won’t stay connected to WiFi….
    Every time it goes to sleep it drops off the network.

    Multiple routers [none of which are on the incompatible list] and much frustration later it’s just a standalone device.

    Logs show: dhcpd: Discarding packet with bogus hlen.

    Reply
  3. Al

    Jake is correct. i wrote a detailed review along with an update on the WS website highlighting this very issue. Not only does it drop off the network after going to sleep (why is it programmed to go to sleep during a cooking session in the first place?), it will not reconnect with the network and/or app, and a hard reset of the device along with a complete setup is required. A little while later: Repeat. Either the app is buggy, the device firmware flawed, or both. This is a great concept in principle, but the execution leaves room for improvement. I really wanted this thing to work as advertised, but if I can locate my receipt it is going back to the store.

    Reply
  4. Terry Hoey

    I just bought one of these today and *then* read these reviews. So, I was a little scared when I went to connect it the first time. I had no issues at all following the app’s simple instructions. I fairly quickly joined the thermometers network and then set it to connect to my home wifi. I wish the app could have searched for the wifi name, but that was the only difficulty I had (manually typing in the name). Under the settings, I saw a switch to disable the sleep mode, so based off the issues mentioned above, I turned that off.

    Wish I would have had this yesterday as I would have used it to grill that 16 pound Birthday Brisket. Oh well, gives me an excuse to cook something big again soon.

    Reply
  5. Terry Hoey

    Ok, I have to take back what I said about the wifi and sleep mode. Plugged it in to fully charge and then turned it off. Now, when I turn on the thermometer and start the app, I get a message that the app can’t find the thermometer. Tried the reset button and redoing the settings on the app but no glory. Busy today, but if I can’t resolve it via the tech support by next weekend, I will be returning it. It’s too expensive for a stand alone thermometer. I was also told at the store that with the app, I could “go to the store and still be able to monitor what is cooking”, which does not appear to be the case.

    Reply
    1. jim and donna

      We bought 5 of these as Christmas gifts Plus one for us. Think it needs some work on the app. It is not easy to set up and we are considering taking all of them back. Could some one from WS please respond as to what you are doing about this issue. The tech support is nothing more than a customer service rep reading the instructions to you. It’s a great gift idea —– please help!!!!!!!!

      Reply
        1. Terry Hoey

          If you are able to assist Jim and Donna, you may want to record the session and put it here so it can help the rest of us with the same issue. At the least, if there is a number where we can get true tech support, not someone “reading the instructions to you”, please let us know. I planned to use this next week with a USDA Prime graded Prime Rib. Expensive piece of meat to risk using this tool and it having issues.

          Reply
    2. Terry Hoey

      After a month of having this and not being able to use it the way it was intended, I returned it this weekend. I also wish it had a second probe for ambient cooking temperature. For that reason, I am probably going to order the following:

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FOVAZI2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00FOVAZI2&linkCode=as2&tag=amazi0a8-20

      WS had a good idea here. I just think they brought it to market a little before they were ready.

      Reply
      1. Milo

        Thank you for the web link for a similar replacement. Unfortunely I to had the same issues with it disconnecting. I don’t have an apple router but the network name is too long. It seems ridicules that you need to do the direct fix each time like a help desk tech. If we simply wanted to do this process each time we all could have purchesed a portable time for under $20 and just set it. My oven has a built in probe and timer. We can’t hear it around back or on the porch. My husband thought this would be great so I could join everyone else and the kids would not all be inside. We made the mistake of using it when we had 28 people over. I also changed the sleep setting, but if it was not plugged it would automatically go back to sleep mode. That and having to reconnect each time is sad. I really wanted for it to work……

        Reply
  6. Edward Goldthwait

    Hello. I am having issues connecting my thermometer. I can get the thermometer to connect to the home network, and then when I try to re-connect to the home network the thermometer becomes a ‘device’ which is not on the network. Then the device disappears from the wifi list and the thermometer cannot connect at all any more. Any assistance would be helpful

    Reply
    1. Williams-Sonoma Post author

      Hi Edward, as Al explains below, the reconnection issue you are experiencing seems to be the issue we’ve found with SSID/Network Names and Passwords with more than 15 characters. We are aware of the problem and are working on a solution. Thank you for your patience!

      Reply
  7. Al Hennigan

    To All:

    I spoke with a WS product development rep the other day, and they have identified and are aware of the issues, so do not despair yet. Apparently, the connectivity issues revolve around two components, the number of characters in your home network name, and whether or not you use an Apple wireless router. Lucky me, I fell under both scenarios, namely, that the number of characters allowed for the name of your home network is limited to 15, and if an Apple router (Time Capsule, Airport Extreme, etc.) is used the DHCP lease must be renewed. They are working hard to update future devices, as well as provide a software update to those who already own one and are having issues so that people don’t run into these two problems. In the short run, you could always change the name of your home network to a name that is under 15 characters, which for me with multiple users and devices was not the answer, along with renewing the DHCP lease, and therefore hopefully be up and going prior to the release of an update. Just know, that they are aware of what is going on and want us all to be happy with this product. Their customer service is beyond reproach, and I am confident we will see a fix soon.

    Reply
  8. John Forde

    Hi, Just here to be added to the list… I can’t get the thing to connect to my iPhone. It takes the settings for the network, or appears to. But when I try to get the app and the thermometer connected, no dice. For the record, I too first tried with a network SSID that had 15 characters.

    When I read Al H’s post, I switched to one that had fewer. But still no luck. I am also using, as Al mentioned, a Time Capsule device to connect to the Internet. It seems bizarre that this would be an obstacle for a device that is right now limited to Apple iOS.

    Anyway, I’m hoping someone will find a fix soon!! We’re eager to try the app, which offers some cool features (per the video anyway) beyond just simple temperature measurement (we already have another thermometer for that that works just fine).

    JF

    Reply
    1. Al Hennigan

      John,

      After changing your network SSID to fewer than 15 characters, did you perform a hard reset on the thermometer and commence with a new connection setup?

      Reply
      1. John F.

        Hi Al,

        Thanks for the reply comment. Yes, I did go through the whole hard reset process again, but to no avail. I can only suspect that it’s because I’m also using a Time Capsule, which is the second of the two issues you mentioned.

        Meanwhile, I did a lot more searching and finally found the step-by-step instructions on how to connect via “direct” mode. It’s not as good — and not permanent, since you have to do it each time — as the promised Wi-Fi mode, but it will at least allow you to use the timed alerts and calculated completion times in the app.

        It’s not a fix but it is a work around until WS can provide something better.

        Here are those directions, reproduced from the post on the WS site:

        Please see below for step-by-step Direct Mode instructions:

        1. To connect in direct mode, first turn the thermometer on by holding down and then releasing the on/off button on the back of the thermometer base. There will be a slight delay before it turns on. Check that your thermometer is charged. If it’s not, plug it in before you continue with the setup.

        2. Open the smart thermometer app on your iDevice (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). Follow Step 1 in the app.

        3. On Step 2, when asked for a network name and password enter: Network: direct Password: connect (These fields are case-sensitive!) Once you enter this, select “Done.”

        4. A screen asking you if you want to continue in direct mode will appear. When you accept and proceed with direct mode, you will skip over the login step which means that you will not be able to access your cooking history or store notes in the app.

        5. If you want to leave direct mode and go back to Wi-Fi mode, reset the thermometer by using the end of the probe to press the reset button on the back of the thermometer.

        Reply
  9. Andrew

    I echo the previous comments about the thermometer. Its a nice unit but the issue about connectivity is real. It will not hold its connection to the app reliably and once wither the app or the thermometer has disconnected you need to go through the set up again. Its spoils an otherwise well thought out device. Can Williams Sonoma make a definitive statement that that are working to resolve this issue with a firmware/App update and give an timescale for the fix? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. John F.

      Exactly, Andrew.

      I’ve been able to use the thermometer twice… but only in direct mode… which means that either my phone or iPad are captive to the device while cooking… neither of which is ideal, because I can’t exit the app, use the Internet, or let the device sleep while cooking.

      That means no looking up other recipes, no taking calls while waiting for something to cook, and rapidly depleting the battery… all because, if the device sleeps, the setup process has to happen all over again.

      I’m sure W.S. has someone working on this, but it’s not too cool to leave us hanging like this. And that last post above seems to suggest they think using the device in direct mode is enough of a work around that they can drop the issue.

      Meanwhile, every time I get another unrelated email from W.S. (I’ve been flooded with sales offers and recipes since posting here), I get annoyed that a response hasn’t come in. And every time I use the thing, my wife feels bad for giving it to me.

      Let’s get on the ball here, W.S… even if you don’t have a solution, speak to your customers.

      Reply
  10. Paula

    I purchased a Smart Thermometer at Christmas and downloaded the app to my iPhone. I had no issues connecting to wifi, but, like above, wish it would automatically find the wifi. I am having difficulty with the app though. How do you edit the notes once you’ve entered some data? How do you delete something from the history? I think it would be wise, somewhere in the app, to let people know when meat rests the temp increases about 10 deg. In spite of these issues, I love the thermometer! I use it regularly and it never fails to produce the perfect internal temp. Thank you WS!

    Reply
    1. Williams-Sonoma Post author

      Hi Paula, you have to be in a cooking session to edit the data. To edit, tap on the “Add Notes” tab and select the area you wish to edit. Once the cooking cycle is ended and saved into history you cannot update the notes. To delete a cooking cycle in the history simple swipe to delete (like you would an email message in list form). To view your history you must be connected to the thermometer.

      Hope this helps, and glad to hear you’re enjoying the thermometer!

      Reply
  11. John F.

    So… here we are at February 3, a month and a day after this post:

    “Hi Edward, as Al explains below, the reconnection issue you are experiencing seems to be the issue we’ve found with SSID/Network Names and Passwords with more than 15 characters. We are aware of the problem and are working on a solution. Thank you for your patience!”

    Any news? Even if you’re not there yet with a solution, an update would not just be welcome… it would be warranted. I write this after, last night, having struggled in mid cooking mayhem and with guests to chat with in the kitchen… struggling to get the stupid/smart thermometer to connect.

    And, again, of course this has to be done by disconnecting from wifi so a direct connection can be made… which means giving up network access to the helpful cooking apps I’d *like* to reference, giving up wifi related music access, giving up any message or email reception while cooking, and so on.

    If this sounds annoyed, I’m afraid that’s because I am.

    It would be one thing if this is something that happens in only extremely rare circumstances. But a non-functioning “smart” connection when using an Apple router and a 15-character SSID name? That has to be a very, very common setup among your target customers. Why aren’t you feeling our urgency here?

    Worse, this thing was a gift and each time I have to wrestle with it to get it to function, it makes my wife feel badly for buying it. Meanwhile, I received and took this gift with me on an extended stay overseas, so a return isn’t really a viable option. A dozen years back, we registered with Williams-Sonoma. It was always a fun store to visit. But at this point, I’m really starting to rethink all future business with you guys… to the point I feel obligated to relate this communications collapse with other potential customers (I write a weekly e-letter to 12,000 readers that covers entrepreneurship, marketing, and client service issues).

    Bottom line: Please get on the ball here. And let us know when you have. Going dark on this because you don’t know what to do is absolutely the worst option. Either fix it… or tell us you’re stumped… or give us some clear indication of where you’re stuck in between.

    Reply
  12. John Barnes

    Got this for Christmas, a gift from my wife. Trying to set up to day. The app is the worst. Do not buy.

    Reply

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