Now you can talk to your refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher through your phone, but what's the value added?
FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW, the advent of smart home devices have allowed you to turn on and off the house lights, change a room’s temperature settings and record your favorite TV shows or movies from your phone without even being home.
But that pallette of options is expanding rapidly. In the past, you would either call home or have someone take a peek inside the fridge or you would just buy it on your way home. Soon, your refrigerator will do so much more, such your send your phone a notification that it’s time to pick up milk or even when your Jell-O is ready to eat.
This isn’t a new concept. In the early 2000s, LG introduced the Internet Digital DIOS, the world’s first internet refrigerator, which came with a webcam so you could see what was inside. But its whopping $20,000 price tag kept it in the novelty categorty..
Now FirstBuild has introduced the ChillHub, which retails at $2,999, and features an app that enables users to check on their cold cuts, watermelon and orange juice whenever they want.
But smart appliances are still in the slow-launch phase, much the way digital televisions were, prior to changes in TV standards.. In an October, 2014 Washington Post article, Whirlpool’s global director of user experience and connectivity said that the buyers of web-connected washers are still not widespread.
He was talking about Whirlpool's "smart" washing machine (left) which comes with Wi-Fi, can be started from an iPhone app, and will text or email you when your clothes are dry.
However, the Internet of Things technology still continues to develop. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Volkmar Denner, the chief executive Robert Bosch said that the future of his company—which includes home appliances—depends on the Internet of Things. He also says that he wants to connect these devices over the internet, the same way that homes and cars are connected.
The concept and technology faces market uncertainties. How much will consumers spend to have their washing machines to tell them to change loads?
Price is still a large factor in the growth of these appliances and the industry will require a tremendous amount of publicity to explain the benefits of the new features and the bumped up price tag.