Companies like Panasonic and Toshiba are attempting to boldly go where few companies have gone before, settings their sights on making smart home appliances for consumers that can send you messages and interact with your smartphone. The driving force behind this decision comes from a loss in the sales of living room electronics like TV's and home theater equipment. To combat this, larger big name brands are coming up with some interesting new ideas to interact with your appliances. Think about what you want to eat for dinner, and just imagine if you received an MMS from your fridge about what you were going to have when you get home. Its ideas like this that are helping to pioneer where this type of technology will go.
The rising interest in smart appliances like Toshiba's smart fridge that comes equipped with a camera($2,800) is also linked to attempts to become more energy efficient. The question is, how will Japanese electronics firms convince consumers to replace all of their home appliances? Concerns surrounding compatibility between appliances from different brands as well as cost are not the only hurdles that stand in the way of this potentially prosperous market. The labor and cost behind acquiring a HEMS(Home Energy Management System) is also something to consider. Despite their hefty cost, according to reuters, sales of Japanese HEMS were given a boost by government subsidies that were initially put in place to help stimulate energy efficiency.
There is obviously some potential for growth with appliances that can do things like send you messages and remind what you have to eat or when things go bad. This spark in potential growth has gotten other appliances manufacturers to take notice including companies like GE, Eletrolux AB, Whirlpool and others. Japanese firms as well as companies from other parts of the globe will have to compete with major players like Samsung and LG though, who already have a number of smart appliances on the market that have features like LCD displays. This competition should be a good thing, as it will force companies to lower pricing due to competitive innovation and pricing offers. Samsung in particular has a rather intriguing smart fridge that they demoed at luxury department store Harrods in London, that comes equipped with an LCD display ready to tell you what you have in your fridge and even suggest recipes so you can decide what to make for meals.
I don't know about you, but having my fridge talk to me like i'm having a conversation with someone on what to eat is equal parts exciting and creepy. As we prepare to enter 2014, more and more home appliances with these smart capabilities will start to emerge, and we can't wait to see what companies come up with. How many of you would be interested in filling your home with appliances that could potentially talk to your smartphones and tablets?