The real benefit of smart appliances comes from things other than social media integration, of course. As appliances become more “intelligent”, we have more ways to control them. This makes them more convenient and useful, of course. The most exciting cell phone spy programs uses of smart technology in appliances relate to home automation, not sharing shopping lists on facebook.
Having control over appliances from your phone or computer can have a positive impact on your quality of life. Why start waiting for your oven to preheat after you get home from a long commute? Why does your laundry have to run only while your at home? Appliance manufacturers are asking and answering these questions with modern automation systems.
One example is the June Intelligent Oven. This is a modern, mini toaster oven that sits on top of a kitchen counter. With a touch screen and intuitive controls, you never have to worry about making sure you’re pressing the correct awkward combination of buttons for whatever you’re trying to do. The computer in the oven will show you exactly what it’s thinking. This oven can be controlled with an iPhone or iPad app, providing information about the current heat setting and even showing a live video feed from the oven. It can let you pick how well-done you want your steak to be, notify you when your food is done, and receive over-the-air operating system updates over the Internet.
Another example is Whirlpool’s smart laundry solutions. Laundry is another one of those household chores that becomes very inconvenient if you walk away from it for too long. You want to be able to time the wash cycle so you can throw the clothes in the dryer pretty quickly afterwards, and this is something smart washing machines can help you with. Whirlpool’s washers will keep your clothes fresh if they are finished while you are away. Their dryers can work with less power and over longer periods of time if they know that you’re not going to be needing the clothes soon. These appliances can also save you money by waiting for more cost-efficient times to do your laundry, avoiding using excessive electricity during the parts of the day when rates are the highest. In this way, the more expensive smart appliances can begin to pay for themselves.
A lot of development has occurred in the realm robot vacuum since the Roomba took America by storm in 2002. The robot vacuum, unlike the laundry machines or countertop oven, is designed to work completely autonomously, without significant human intervention. Lots of these robots are built to run on a timer while the homeowner is away. Vacuuming manually is, of course, rather time-consuming. It’s a very active task, as opposed to using an oven or a washing machine. So it makes sense that this is something you would want to automate.
Samsung’s newest robotic vacuum, for example, has an onboard camera that helps it map out the area it is trying to clean. It can also follow laser dots on the floor, like a cat. Except the robot removes cat hair from your floor, instead of adding cat hair. The actual vacuum power of these robots is also pretty impressive, too, of course.
It is worth having a look at what in your house could use some automation. With so much connectivity available in the palm of your hand, you can expect that the appliances you use every day should be able to connect, too.