Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Smart Can Your Appliances Be?

How smart can your appliances be? As smart as humans make them is an answer. Also key is how well humans sell them. LG Electronics Home Appliances Company developed LG THINQ (“thin –Q”) technology which connects home appliances with smartphones, tablets and PCs. Such appliances as refrigerators, washing machines, ovens, televisions and Hom-Bots can be activated to turn on and off, adjust temperature, download recipes, or visually monitor the home. A home Wi-Fi system is required. The United States, Germany and Korea are involved in the initial global roll out.

What LG is harnessing is artificial intelligence. The mass media has presented artificial intelligence as structures strongly resembling humans. In fact, it has been with us in the way of certain pharmaceuticals, smartphones, automated customer service and e-commerce.

THINQ technology involves Smart Grid, Smart Diagnosis, Smart Access and Smart Adapt as well as Food Management. Smart Grid uses the smart meter to identify the hours of lowest electricity usage and price in the consumer’s area to wash clothes or use the oven. Smart Diagnosis sends notices of malfunctions or disruptions due to not having the appliance not turned or an appliance door left open to the smartphone or PC monitor. When a consumer calls into the customer service center for detailed assistance, the representative will tell them a series of buttons to press on the appliance. The appliance will respond with a tone series that explains the malfunction.

Smart Access allows remote operation. Refrigerator temperature can be adjusted or the Hom-Bot can feed the pet, vacuum the floor or streams video of the room it is in. Smart Adapt is the ability to download the latest operating updates and services which slows product obsolescence. Food Management is a refrigerator function. Owners can state the type and location of food items within the refrigerator. This feature facilitates grocery shopping.

Currently, many area Best Buy stores don’t have models on the floor, but will fulfill consumer orders. The Best Buy at the Atlantic Center is a case in point. A floor associate directed one person to two specified supervisors—“Barbara or Theresa”—without giving their telephone numbers.

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