As I mentioned here, Google is planning to inject some brain power into a new generation of home appliances. More intelligent fridges have already available in some markets. The real push in that direction comes from two South Korean manufacturers – LG Electronics and Samsung. Earlier this month, at the International Consumer Electronics Show both companies showcased home appliances with new functionality.
Here is what you should expect:
LG Electronics is betting on their new Smart ThinQ technology to connect and control various appliances to a smart TV or a smart phone so you can check the laundry, for example, without the need to run down to the basement.
LG’s new refrigerators will not only be a cool storage place, but also a complete food management system. Using the LCD panel on the fridge or your smartphones you would be able to check what food is inside, expiration date, and even get some suggestions what you can cook with the available items. You can manually enter food using the panel or you can scan them with your smart phone. To take this further – you will also be able to buy groceries online right from the panel on the fridge. Throw in some extra functions like digital photo albums, calendars, memos and you have a really super refrigerator, designed to save you time and money.
Samsung offers a range of home appliances with similar new functionality; however their strength seems to be in making displays. The newest innovation from Samsung is the so called transparent LCD panel. You can see through and at the same time the panel can display additional information in the form of text pictures or video. Such panel could be the door of your refrigerator, or even your kitchen window. The opportunities are endless.
We must look at all this from a critical point of view too. “Wait a minute”, one may say, “Why do I need to go shopping using my fridge”? Don’t we have enough gadgets in the house, that are online all the time – the laptop in the living room, the desktop in the office, the tablet in your kid’s room, or the smart phone in your pocket? Do I need the fridge to do some of it too? – Perhaps not. Connectivity and remote access to the status and the functions of the appliance, however, is a good think to have.
So, the big question is – if you are already planning to upgrade, should you wait for the new line of appliances or not. There are two things to consider – cost and timing. Be prepared to pay extra for the “smart” in the name of your purchase. If you are not that trilled by the option to know exactly what is in your fridge at any moment, you may be fine to proceed with your plans. Keep in mind also the fact that sometimes it takes more time to iron out all the issues going from a prototype to a full production. It may take longer time these smart new home appliances to hit the shelves. Therefore, if you are not in a hurry and like the idea of making your home smarter, it is worth to wait.