REMEMBER WHEN THE TYPICAL KITCHEN APPLIANCE WAS A SIMPLE MACHINE THAT YOU SWITCHED ON TO DO ITS JOB, THEN SWITCHED OFF ONCE IT WAS FINISHED? THINGS HAVE CHANGED, AND THEN SOME. TODAY’S APPLIANCES HELP YOU TO LOSE WEIGHT, DO THE SHOPPING, TALK TO EACH OTHER, AND OCCASIONALLY EVEN GIVE YOU LIP…
LG ELECTRONICS is targeting the new breed of demanding, tech-savvy consumer with a range of distinctly smart kitchen appliances that reflect what the company describes as its vision for a “more connected, eco-friendly lifestyle”.
Unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year, the products – centred on the company’s proprietary Smart ThinQ technology – showcase some innovative device-to-device connectivity features as well as the LG Home Energy Management System. Its smart appliances are differentiated with four complementary
technologies – the Linear Compressor, the Inverter Direct Drive, the Infrared Grill and the Kompressor. Among the
more compelling features is enhanced device-to-device connectivity, which enables the smart refrigerators and smart
washing machines to be monitored from a Smart TV or smartphone. For instance, individuals can monitor the status of
their laundry cycles from their TV screen without needing to be physically present in the laundry room.
Says Moon-bum Shin, CEO of LG Electronics Home Appliance Company: “Device-to-device connectivity with smartphones and among LG appliances is… helping consumers handle housework in a smarter manner by saving time, money and energy.”
A SERIOUSLY COOL FRIDGE
Built around LG’s signature Linear Compressor, the flagship smart French-door refrigerator is equipped with a full range
of Smart ThinQ technologies. Key among them is Smart Manager, which transforms the fridge into a complete food management system. You can use the fridge’s LCD panel or your smartphone to check the food items stored inside, as well as their location and expiration date. Using the Smart Manager’s Freshness Tracker, you can also enter various food items such as eggs, milk and vegetables, and check their suggested expiry dates. Here’s where it gets really cool: the fridge even recommends dishes that can be cooked using the ingredients available on its shelves.
There are multiple ways to record the food items stored in the fridge, including selecting icons from the panel and using voice recognition technology. Grocery receipts can be scanned with your smartphone, allowing the fridge to automatically download the food item list. Barcodes can also be scanned with smartphones to input food items.
Then there’s Smart Shopping, which offers online grocery shopping directly from the fridge’s LCD panel or smartphone. A shopping list is created by selecting food items from the inventory, which will be loaded on to Smart Shopping by pressing the “Go Shopping” button. You can buy these food items via the refrigerator’s LCD panel or smartphone, while items not on the list can be searched for and selected manually. These features eliminate the hassle of having to write down grocery shopping lists the old-fashioned way or the need to visit the grocery store.
It doesn’t end there. The Smart Manager now includes LG’s Health Manager function, which recommends recipes and menus based on personal pro les that take into account factors such as an individual’s age, gender, weight, height and Body Mass Index (BMI). The information is used to determine options that may be more suitable to the person’s physical condition and might be particularly useful for consumers with medical conditions that require special diets, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or food allergies, and for those on a weight-loss programme. The Health Manager even
recommends daily or weekly meal plans based on personal profiles, while also providing recipes for each dish. Should you wish to cook a recommended dish, you can select the dish and press “Send to Oven,” which sends the necessary information to a LG Smart Oven and automatically arranges the proper oven settings (of course, this assumes you have also coughed up for the appropriate stove).
The Smart Access feature lets you check the status of your LG appliances via a smartphone, regardless of your geographic location. You can check food items that are running low while you’re in a grocery store, reducing the chance of accidental double purchases and saving money on groceries.
In the er… unlikely event of a glitch, the Smart Diagnosis feature will enable a customer service representative to ef ficiently troubleshoot the issue. You can also be directly alerted through your smartphone about minor issues, such as when the door is left open or the icemaker is switched off.
LG’s smart fridge also offers something called “Night Saving Mode”, which reduces energy consumption for up to four hours during the night, plus a “Customise Saving Mode” that lowers energy use during periods preset by the user. Oh, and lest you think it’s all about keeping food cold and conserving energy, the fridge offers access to digital photo albums, calendars, text memos and news reports (a voice memo function is planned for the future).
Finally, although this may be of academic interest only to South African customers, the fridge comesSmart Gridready. Here’s how it works: overseas, as utility companies begin offering Smart Gridcompatible, differentiated energyrate time slots, the fridge will be able to automatically readjust its temperature and function settings to take advantage of optimum energy rates on a daily basis, offering a smart energysaving solution.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
If you thought washing machines were useful but basically quite dumb, think again. New for this year is a machine featuring (wait for it) Smart Diagnosis, Smart Access, Smart Adapt and Smart Gridready functionality. Would you believe a washing machine with of ficial WiFi certi fication? Anyway, should a problem occur, this clever machine will quickly and ef ficiently troubleshoot it, thereby obviating costly service calls and in-home visits. A downloadable smartphone application will alert you to less signi ficant problems, such as when the door is left open.
Like the refrigerator, the washing machine uses Smart Access to keep you connected, regardless of your location, so you no longer need to worry when leaving the house with the washer running. Certain functions, such as changing the pre-programmed wash time or adding fabric softener, can be adjusted by remote control and popup messages on the smartphone signal when the wash cycle is finished. You’ll also like Smart Adapt, which makes it possible to download new washing cycle programs, such as Super Rinse and Baby Sanitise, through your smartphone or via the washing machine’s LCD panel.
NOW YOU’RE COOKIN’
LG’s Smart Oven comes equipped with a suite of Smart ThinQ features, including Smart Access (this allows you to monitor cooking settings such as time and temperature via your mobile device,) Smart Adapt (you can send cooking time information by smartphone, directing the oven to cook sumptuous dishes via its autocooking function), and Smart Diagnosis (makes it easy to diagnose simple problems by using a smartphone application or through direct contact with the customer service centre). The oven is equipped with an infrared grill, which reportedly cooks food more efficiently and evenly.
‘It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.’ – Clive James