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APPLIANCES / AIR CONDITIONING & HEATING

LG & Samsung Connecting Home With Smart Appliances

By Tony Ibrahim | Friday | 04/05/2012

Samsung showcased several appliances at its Regional Forum 2012 last month and announced Australia will see a WiFi enabled air conditioner launched in August with a WiFi enabled fridge joining it before Christmas.

What's the big deal with WiFi appliances you ask? Simply put, control and communication.

Take the WiFi enabled air conditioner as an example: with wireless communications built in, you can jump on a compatible WiFi device and adjust the temperature from any location. This makes it easy for people to turn on their air con when they're on the way home.


Click to enlarge
Samsung's WiFi fluent RF4289
The WiFi fridge ushers in its own perks, featuring a 20.3cm touch screen, built in apps and a barcode scanner for keeping track of what food you have inside. By simply scanning in your food, the fridge will keep inventory of expiration dates and, based on their weight, will recognise when you're running low on particular items, even providing the option of ordering more groceries online.

Samsung will be launching Allshare Control applications that will enable users to control their appliances—including the aforementioned—directly from their 'universal' smartphone or tablet. Samsung already feature their Allshare app on smartphones, tablets, cameras, TVs and home entertainment systems.

"We're working towards convergence and beyond, and we're trying to create a smart home ecosystem," says Evan Manolis, the group manager AV at Samsung Electronics Australia to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Just because Samsung will be launching these devices to Australians first doesn't mean they'll be doing so without competition. LG has been entertaining connected devices since 2002 with its internet fridge, and continues to do so with its new Thinq range.

LG's range features a fridge that helps you diet, and oven that lets you peak at your meal via your smartphone and a washing machine that takes time-of-use-pricing into consideration. However, Australia won't be getting first dibs on these devices which are destined for the USA and Korea first.

"LG will be bringing out more appliances with additional smart technology over time; however, many of the new features are in their infancy," says the corporate marketing manager at LG Electronics Australia, Fiona Irving. "We will be focused on launching in other markets such as Korea and the USA prior to any introduction in Australia."

Irving recognises Australians are tech savvy and open to intelligent appliances, but believes the technology has to don an attractive price point. When they launched their internet fridge, it was handicapped by a $17,000 price tag at a time characterised by low internet penetration.

Samsung believes the market has changed and although they haven't announced local pricing yet, their WiFi enabled fridge sells for $3,699 in the US. Mike Lilly, the head of home appliances at Samsung Electronics Australia said:

"Samsung has assessed the consumer demand for this style of product and we believe that the time is right now, both in terms of technology and consumer desire - but also the price point."

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