LG's smart home concept with connected, smart appliances - 24 Jan 2011

LG has announced a line of networked "smart appliances." Which include a line of kitchen and cleaning appliances that use the Thinq brand name, promising consumers better energy efficiency and control.

The appliances use a Wi-Fi home network and smart meter to offer features, such as remotely operating appliances from a smart phone or programming them to take advantage of off-peak rates. Being connected to a network also enables the appliances to alert their owners that something is wrong or allows customer service to service a machine remotely. The Thinq appliances include a washer, dryer, robotic vacuum cleaner, oven, and refrigerator.

LG joins other appliances makers, including General Electric and Whirlpool, in making network-aware appliances. Some of the features that LG says are possible seem relatively novel while others have been touted before but never materialized. For example, having a customer service representative troubleshoot an appliance problem by logging onto the machine would save consumers time and trouble. By contrast, it's not clear consumers are willing to pay more for "food management" features, designed to send an alert when food is spoiled in the refrigerator.

The energy efficiency capabilities rely on a smart meter and tiered pricing. With time-of-use pricing, a person could program a dishwasher to operate in the middle of the night to take advantage of lower rates.

Smart Grids Home page