Why You Should Buy Smart Appliances – Benefits for Homeowners
Learn how these new smart appliances can help users save money and the environment at the same time.
The other day we were sitting in our den watching the game when our son and his girlfriend came in and asked about why new refrigerators need to be connected to the internet. It seems my son’s girlfriend had to give her parents their home Wi-Fi password so they could connect their new LG refrigerator to the internet. Being the founder of GearBrain and one who has seen appliances go from “dumb” to “smart”, I was happy to explain how today’s new appliances are smart and connected devices that are connected to the Internet so they can save you money and the environment at the same time. Here is how it works.
Some smart refrigerators come with touchscreens which might not be for you. However, all smart appliances do have connectivity to run more efficiently.
When I asked a few friends this question the other day, they told me a smart appliance is a refrigerator with a tablet on the front. Others told me it was a coffee maker you can control with your smartphone. Another friend said it’s an appliance connected to a smart plug that you can program to turn on and off via an app. Well, they are all right but let me help simplify it for you.
According to Market Research Future’s Smart Appliance Market Report, they define a smart appliance is “…the next generation of home and kitchen appliances that can receive, interpret, and act on a signal received from a user, and then, automatically adjust their operation to save energy or perform other functions.” With built-in connectivity and sensors, smart appliances allow users to operate these machines remotely to help them operate more efficiently and provide routines that can save them money on their energy bills.
Smart appliances include ovens, refrigerators as well as small devices like robot vacuums.
It’s going to be big. Experts are predicting it to be a $96.2 billion industry by 2030. What will be driving the growth of smart appliances? It will be the advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) in these machines. Smart appliances will be able to speak to one another and capture tons of data. Then AI will use this data to make your life more enjoyable, safer, and more productive. It’s that simple but could be scary for some consumers.
Smart appliances come in all shapes and sizes to help you run an efficient and safe kitchen.
There are various types of smart appliances available today. Besides the ones you would expect to be in this group like smart ovens, smart washers, smart dryers, smart dishwashers, and refrigerators, there are smart air conditioners, smart water heaters, smart security devices, and smart deep freezers. There are also smaller appliances like smart air purifiers, lighting systems, smart coffee makers, smart kettles, and robot vacuums. All are designed to help make your life easier and save money.
Smart appliances can save money on your energy bills with efficient use.
One-way smart appliances save you money on energy usage. Many new smart appliances are coming with energy sensors that monitor the appliance’s energy usage. These sensors learn how you use your appliance and over time come up with suggestions on how you can save money on your energy bill. For instance, your smart refrigerator might suggest raising the temperature inside the refrigerator by 1 or 2 degrees for X hours a day. Doing so could save you $X a month on your energy bill. Or maybe your dishwasher will recommend that the best time to run a load to conserve water usage is at 2 AM daily. These little suggestions when combined across a full lineup of smart appliances will have significant benefits for the homeowner as well as the environment.
Here is another good example of how smart appliances can help you save money. Big home appliances, like washers, dryers, ovens, and refrigerators have been staples in the home for generations. When you moved, more than likely these machines stayed with the house, and you got new ones with your new home. And if any of the appliances needed repairs, you would call the repairman who would charge you a fee to come and just look at the appliance to see what was wrong with it. Once he was done identifying the problem, he would tell you the price to repair it. And if you are lucky and decide to have the repairman fix your appliance, he might not charge you for the initial visit.
Today, this process is getting updated thanks to the entry of smart appliances. Homes with smart appliances have a built-in notification capability when things go wrong. Instead of your repairman diagnosing the problem, your smart appliance will do it and then send you a nonfiction or an alert saying why it is not working properly. (Note: Some smart appliances might warn you of a potential problem ahead of time.) The user can then contact a repairman who will log in to your appliance via the internet and see what is wrong. At this point, the repairman will be able to tell the owner if he can fix it and how much it will cost. He will also let you know when he can come and fix it. The homeowner now has the option to either schedule a time for the repairman to come and fix the appliance or they can call another repairman to see if he can come sooner and at a lesser cost. This is just another way smart appliances can help save you money.
How do smart appliances connect?
Smart appliances connect to your home Wi-Fi network via a wireless connection. The wireless connections can vary by device. Currently, the main wireless connections are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Thread, Zigbee, RFID, NFC, Matter and cellular networks (LTE or 5G). However, with all these different wireless protocols comes a big challenge for smart homes, devices, and appliances, it’s interoperability. There is nothing worse than buying a smart device or appliance, bringing it home, and finding it is not compatible with your existing device or system. Or you have many apps and want one to control your devices. According to Parks Associates research, 73% of smart home device owners or intenders say Interoperability is important or highly important in choosing which smart home product to buy (5-7 on a 7-point scale). Smart appliances need to navigate this problem and help address the needs of consumers or there will be problems that would include lost sales.
One group that addresses this need is the Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA). HCA is a member organization that is developing interoperability and security guidelines specifically for smart appliances, HVAC systems, and smart TVs. This past August at IFA Show in Berlin, the HCA displayed the first C2C (cloud-to-cloud) connectivity solution for appliances, HVAC, and smart TVs. At IFA, they demonstrated how multiple brands of apps can control multiple brands of appliances, HVAC systems, and TVs at the same time. This is a great development for consumers and will be a key driver for these manufacturers, especially for homeowners with multiple brands of smart appliances and devices in their homes.
Who makes smart appliances?
There are many companies manufacturing smart appliances today. You have companies like Samsung, LG, Bosch, GE Appliances, Haier, Frigidaire, Grundig, and AEG who are members of HCA that make smart appliance manufacturers. Other manufacturers include BSH Home Appliances Corporation (which includes Bosch, Thermador, and tons of regional global brands), Toshiba, and Whirlpool are making smart appliances. Many respectable small appliance manufacturers like iRobot, American Standard, Resideo, Trane, Electrolux, and Anova Culinary are also producing smarter devices like robot vacuums, smart thermostats, and cooking accessories.
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As there are some skeptics around that think connecting your refrigerator or dishwasher to the internet is a dumb idea, I am hoping they read this article to get better educated on the importance and benefits of having a connected appliance in the home. Yes, a tablet on the refrigerator might not be for you, but for some it is important. There are a lot of benefits to helping your home become smart. Just keep in mind solving the interoperability issues for your home needs to be the first step. Deciding which device or system will be the brain of your smart home is key. Once you make this decision, it will be a lot easier to add more smart appliances and devices to your smart home that fits your needs. And remember if you sell your home, factory reset all your smart and connected devices so the new homeowner can live a simpler life and help save the environment simultaneously.
The GearBrain, First Compatibility Find Engine for Smart DevicesGearBrain's mission is to simplify the Internet of Things or new connected devices for consumers. Many of today's new connected ...