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[February 09, 2014]
Talking home appliances [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) HOW would you like to tell your home appliances - refrigerator, television, air conditioner, oven, washing machine, robotic vacuum cleaner - what to do before you get home or send them a text message to act on? Better still, what if the home appliances updated you about their status? For example, the refrigerator informing you that you have run out of milk or the washing machine messaging you, letting you know that it has completed its task.
Sounds space-age? Well, not really. Putting some intelligence into home appliances and having them connected to the Internet are not new ideas.
Major electronics manufacturers have been working on smart appliances like these for years and in recent times some features of these smart appliances have made their debut.
LG HOMECHAT Last month, LG Electronics announced its HomeChat service, which allows customers to communicate, control, monitor and share content with the company's products via the free mobile messenger app, Line.
The first product to have HomeChat will be its Whisen line of air conditioners for the Korean market. According to LG, smart residential air conditioners are still a new product category that is still unknown in many markets.
With HomeChat, users can text the LG air conditioner via their smartphone, using the Line service. For example, the user can text "Leaving the office now, cool to 26 degrees" and the LG air conditioner will calculate when it needs to turn itself on and how high to set the fan speed to achieve the desired temperature by the time the user arrives home.
Another fascinating feature is that the air conditioner can act as a home alarm system. It can send a notification to your smartphone if it detects movement in the home during your absence.
With its built-in movement-sensing camera, the product can also track your position and body temperature, to bring customised cooling.
SAMSUNG SMART HOME APP Samsung Electronics had rolled out a fair number of smart home appliances like the refrigerator and washing machine over the years.
Recently, like LG, the company announced the Smart Home App which lets you control all your connected devices through a single app on your smartphone or tablet.
The service which is expected to be rolled out in the first half of this year, according to the company, will make the concept of connected homes a reality.
The system integrates Samsung smartphones, appliances, cameras and Galaxy Gear smartwatches.
The company showcased the system at the Computer Electronics Show 2014 last month in Las Vegas, United States with a robotic vacuum cleaner, refrigerator, washing machine, air conditioner, smart television and mounted camera. Capabilities include enabling the lights and air conditioner to turn themselves off and the vacuum to start cleaning when you leave your home.
Smart Home also offers a voice command function on all the controller devices. If a user says "going out" to his Galaxy Gear device, home lighting and selected appliances are turned off. If you say "good night" to your Smart TV remote control, the TV will be turned off and lights dimmed and gradually turned off in readiness for sleep.
You can also use chat control on your smartphone app to communicate and send a series of instructions to get your home appliances to work when you are out.
If a camera is attached, you can also have a view of your home.
The company plans to expand the service to many of its products and gradually enable it to work with other manufacturers' appliances.
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