As the Internet of Things becomes more tangible for consumers and more household products become “smart,” there is huge potential for the housewares industry, said a panel of manufacturers, consumer editors and technology experts. But housewares manufacturers will need to be smart, as well, about introducing those “smart” housewares products to consumers, the panelists said. Internet connected appliances, for example, will need to fulfill a need that consumers didn’t even know they had – it has to solve a problem. But first, several hurdles need to be overcome before the products go mainstream, the panelists said, such as avoiding smart for “smart’s sake,” better user interface so people will use programmable features and the smart appliances themselves, and security of the data that the appliance outputs. The panelists see great potential for the smart appliance, they say, thanks in part to the growth of cellphones. From the first car phone to flip phones and now smart phones, the long love affair with new technology and its increasing capabilities will make the engagement of smart appliances quicker. We are already tethered to the lifestyle.