Soon, smart household appliances that text you

Soon, smart household appliances that text you

Leading manufacturers of household appliances have created smart devices that can send a text message when your clothes are dry or notify you when a power cut knocks out your fridge.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, appliance manufacturers Whirlpool and LG are unveiling new washers, dryers and refrigerators that connect with their owner’s smartphones or tablets through home-based wi-fi networks, Discovery News reported.

The household appliances let them know when to change filters, schedule maintenance or the cheapest time of day to wash a load of clothes.

“We’re not looking at having the fridge tweet to you, but it can send e-mails or SMS,” said Warwick Stirling, Whirlpool global director of energy and sustainability.

“We’re trying to focus on ways to make tasks easier and simpler, making processes more efficient rather than more gadget-y or gizmo-y,” Stirling said.

Stirling said the devices will be available for sale in March under its “Sixth Sense Live” brand. Whirlpool’s new Bluetooth-capable CoolVox refrigerator lets consumers play music through the fridge using an app.

Korean electronics giant LG is introducing a new line at CES that will let users control their washer, vacuum or range by voice command via smartphone, even offering the ability to check what kind of food is inside the refrigerator remotely.

A Whirlpool washer/dryer combo with smart connectivity will cost $3,600, compared to under $1,000 for entry-level models, the report said.

While appliance and electronics makers believe consumers will go for convenience over cost, some analysts are sceptical that the public is ready for tweeting fridges or remote controlled vacuums.

“From an appliance standpoint, they are getting there, but it’s still pretty early,” said Neil Strother, a senior analyst at Boulder-based Pike Research.

He said there are several big obstacles to consumers jumping from smartphones to smart appliances.
They are still 50 to 100 per cent more costly that “non-smart” appliances and manufacturers still haven’t agreed on a common household communications platform that would help integrate stereo/TV/computer systems with kitchens and laundries, for example.