At this point, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become so common that many people are using it daily without even realizing it. The IoT represents the interconnectedness of our devices and their ability to connect with us (people) and each other (other devices).
The IoT in Household Devices
In the household, this is seen in the proliferation of smart appliances. Your refrigerator can now be controlled by your smartphone. Many people enjoy the convenience of seeing what foods they have on hand while shopping at the grocery store, reducing the chances of buying something they already have.
What Appliance Brands Have in Store for 2018
At CES 2018, a number of new concepts were unveiled in the smart appliance sector. Whirlpool is launching appliances that support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. These devices are already present in millions of homes, so it makes sense to capitalize on the popularity. Users will be able to keep track of their laundry in the washing machine and adjust the settings on their freezers without going from room to room.
LG unveiled a similar concept, with its own ThinQ platform. It will allow LG’s appliances to communicate with each other and accommodate users’ habits and choices. So if a user searches for a chicken recipe on the refrigerator, the connected oven can begin pre-heating. The platform also aims to identify problems with the appliances to alert users of issues and provide that information to LG’s engineers to assist with repairs.
GE Appliances took a different approach to their product line this year. They unveiled the Kitchen Hub, which is a smart hub display for above the oven that also functions as a ventilator. Whereas most brands are putting the smart displays on refrigerators, this one is located right above where the cooking is done, allowing users to easily refer back to recipes and cooking tutorials. It also has a forward-facing camera that allows you to video chat while you cook, and another one facing the stove so can show others exactly what you’re cooking. This feature could play into the social aspects of both new media technology and food preparation.
What’s Next in Smart Appliance Design?
With all of the progress in this sector, it’s hard to imagine what more could be done. Over time, however, it would make sense to have appliances from different brands that are designed to communicate. There are also more opportunities for growth within the AI itself. If your fridge can tell you what food items you have on hand, it’s not much of a stretch for it to come up with suggested recipes.
Much of the technological infrastructure is already there, it’s just a matter of figuring out new ways to apply it. As brands know, convenience is key, which is why so many new launches focus on adapting technology to meet user habits and lifestyles.
As a heavy gauge metal stamper that works closely with appliance brands, Ohio Valley Manufacturing is interested in seeing where the next generation of smart appliances will go. We’re here to help in the manufacturing process.