The term “smart appliance” has been bandied about for several years now, and with much confusion and ambiguity. What does that really mean? The truth is, it can mean a number of things since the technology is still evolving; companies continue to tweak and define the functions and protocols that make a product a true smart appliance.
Here are the most traditional features in terms of what we view as “smart” in the realm of home appliances:
Wi-Fi Enabled Appliances
The most common and practical is the Wi-Fi-enabled oven. GE introduced their version in 2013, allowing consumers to preheat, turn the oven off, check cooking status, and set a timer from a remote location.
These are just what they sound like – outlet adapters that allow you to convert virtually anything into a smart device using protocols like Insteon or ZigBee. The limitations are such that they are mostly intended for electronics, lights, and small appliances such as slow cookers. You should not plug a major appliance into a smart outlet unless the instructions expressly permit it.
What’s on the Horizon
As the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in January 2016 clearly demonstrated, the focus is shifting away from non-kitchen appliances, and onto – in particular – big changes in refrigerators as well as attention to Smart Grid technology.
The Samsung Family Hub is a stainless steel behemoth that’s reported to be bringing a $5,000 price tag with it. But you do get a lot for that hefty wallet hit – a 21.5” Super AMOLED screen that can pick up on your TV show from your Samsung television when you go to the kitchen to grab a bite, as well as a host of other useful features.
LG answered back at CES, but with a slightly less tech-packed twist. Their version, the LG Signature, features a door that, when knocked upon, triggers the interior to become illuminated so you can see what’s inside. It also has a clever floor holograph which, when stepped upon, causes the door to open.
CES was also an opportunity for LG to unveil its ThinQ line of smart kitchen (and more) appliances. Their HomeChat function allows users to turn on the washing machine, pull recipes from the oven’s database, and even troubleshoot problems with your fridge. LG also came up with a solution to the dishwasher dilemma – with three reconfigurable tiers, the LDT8786ST gives you ultimate versatility. Plus it features camera sensors that save water by tracking items that are already clean.
Smart Grid Technology
The Smart Grid may be the most practical advance in smart home technology, at least as far as energy savings (translation = money savings) go. The Smart Grid is essentially a system allowing two-way communication between your power source and your appliances. Previously, your power company knew how much energy you were using, but you had no idea how much your community was collectively using at any one time. Smart Grid-enabled appliances can detect times of low power consumption, which are normally the cheapest times to run them. Caveat – not all power companies are Smart Grid enabled yet so you’ll want to check before making the investment.
Choose Smart Installation
When you are spending so much money on advanced technological products, you want to be sure they work perfectly with your home network and smart hub. ServiceLive Direct can connect you with the right professional installers – whether for smart thermostat installation, home network setup, or another component of your system – we have a network of thousands of providers who can help you make the most out of your smart home system setup.