If you can\u2019t work from home, the Internet Home Alliance has the next best thing. Come this summer, the group is setting up 20 Boston families with \u201cintelligent kitchens,\u201d geared to helping working mothers put a good hot meal on the table, even when they\u2019re stuck in the office or in traffic.\u201cMealtime isn\u2019t for men. It\u2019s for working Moms, that\u2019s the bottom line,\u201d says Tim Woods, vice president of ecosystem development at the IHA. \u201cWorking Moms are the most discerning consumers. They have to make things work and have an uncanny ability to shift through the BS. They\u2019re the first to say, \u2018This is too hard, too painful, I\u2019m not going this route.\u2019 \u201dThe IHA is a nonprofit, pan-industry group of companies advancing the home technology market. Members include Cisco, Whirlpool, Microsoft, Sears and many others. Mealtime addresses the notion that working Moms are dually frustrated by wanting to do their jobs well and nurture their families. They don\u2019t want to order pizza every night, they want to put a bit of themselves into the meals they feed their families. So the IHA has brought together components and network technology that help Moms better manage the process of cooking dinner and control that process from outside the home.What\u2019s involved? The centerpiece of Mealtime is the new Whirlpool Polara Refrigerated Range, which includes a built-in compressor. With Polara, you can prepare a meal the night before and stick it in the oven. You tell the range what time the next day you want the meal ready, and the range will keep the meal refrigerated until it\u2019s time to start cooking.\u00a0That\u2019s all fine, but what if Mom ends up working late, or the family decides last minute to go out to eat? For the pilot, the IHA networked the Polara so you can remotely control the oven via a Web-enabled device, be it computer, PDA or phone, allowing you to either adjust the cooking time or cancel the operation altogether. The Polara will connect to an IBM residential gateway via an Echelon low-speed power-line modem, meaning the Polara plugs into the power outlet like always.IBM\u2019s WebSphere application is used to display the correct interface on the various wireless devices Mom might use to talk to the range. The residential gateway hosts IBM\u2019s J9 virtual machine, which runs servlets that are compliant with the Open Services Gateway Initiative, says Bill Bodin, the IHA\u2019s CTO and senior technical staff member at IBM. (For more on OSGi, see the link below.)Throughout the day, the Polara will send Mom messages alerting her to the meal\u2019s various stages: \u201cHi Mom, I\u2019m coming out of refrigeration mode and gearing up to start cooking dinner. Still want it ready at 7?\u201d or some such. For safety reasons, the Polara settings can be changed or cancelled remotely, but not activated. You must turn on the range manually. (Otherwise, some cell-phone pickpocket might\u2026turn on your oven\u2026really high?)The Mealtime intelligent kitchen also includes a Whirlpool refrigerator with an embedded Web tablet with 802.11b wireless connectivity (not yet available in stores), as well as an Icebox, a Web-enabled entertainment device that mounts beneath the kitchen cabinet. Icebox includes a TV, DVD player and an FM radio. HP is providing a printer, hoping Mom might want to download and print recipes from the Icebox or Web tablet.Of course, Mealtime doesn\u2019t help you shop or chop onions. But Phase Two of the pilot, beginning around August-September, involves connecting the Boston families with online grocer Peapod, which distributes groceries via local Stop & Shop supermarkets. This arrangement will let Mom shop via the Icebox or Web tablet, and have the order delivered.How Boston will receive Mealtime remains to be seen. \u201cWe\u2019re the first to admit we don\u2019t have the answer yet,\u201d Woods says. \u201cBut we\u2019re putting this into people\u2019s hands so they can tell us what the answer is or isn\u2019t.\u201dThe IHA promised I can visit one of these families once the pilot begins, so in a few weeks I\u2019ll give you a first-hand report. If you have any questions for the pilot families, or want to share your thoughts on the pilot, drop me an e-mail.