Smart home appliances could revolutionize the way we interact with our home on a daily basis. Can you imagine getting a text from your oven when dinner’s ready or having your refrigerator email you what food you need to pick up from the store? These features are not only possible but already exist in some appliances. This is the future of home appliances.
When you’re browsing the internet or Pinterest and come across a great new recipe you want to try, what’s the best way to save it? You probably didn’t say download it directly to my oven, but that’s exactly what you can do now. The latest oven technology has a built-in display for recipes and settings, can monitor the temperature of your meal and text you an alert when it’s fully cooked.
It’s pretty hard to imagine how to make microwave cooking much easier but it’s happened. Here’s how they did it. Instead of having to read instructions and fiddle with your microwaves programming to set the correct power and time, now you just scan the bar code of your frozen meal and the microwave will automatically set the time and cooking power. All you have to do is press start.
Have you ever gone to your fridge, and realized what you wanted to eat had expired? Thanks to the smart refrigerator, that may never happen again. Here’s what you do: scan the bar codes of items before you put them in the fridge. It will then keep a record of the items, and let you know when they’ve gone bad.
Throw out your old metal keys, because the future is here! Smart locks use key fobs or the Bluetooth signal on your phone to recognize you and unlock your door as you approach. This is the end of fumbling around with keys while carrying a load of groceries. Some more advanced models even let you program specific people and times that they are allowed to enter or send you a notification each time a person enters your home. This option could be used for deliveries, and making sure your kids get home from school safely each day. You can even have it send you a picture of the person who’s standing at your door.
These Wi-Fi enabled devices allow you to hook up anything with a standard outlet plug to your Wi-Fi network. Space heaters, window A/C units, TV’s, fans and lights can all be controlled from your smart phone or tablet. Not only does it turn any device on or off, but they can be programmed with custom alerts and can send you information about the device’s energy use.
Now, you can go beyond the simple ability to dim and turn on and off the lights in your home. The most recent wave of Smart Light bulbs can actually change color and offer lighting scenes, with Zen-like labels such as “Relax” and “Concentrate.” You can also create color schemes based on photos from your phone’s camera roll, or recreate a convincing sunset scene at any time of the day.
Sprinklers and lawn irrigation systems have evolved well beyond putting a kink in the hose to turn them on or off. Now, you can set your watering schedule from your home computer. They calculate soak cycles based on your soil type, so you don’t waste water. And don’t worry about using your smart phone to shut it off if it starts to rain, because these systems automatically check the weather and adjust their output accordingly.
They’re basically smart locks for your pet. These doors use a special tag attached to your pet’s collar to unlock the pet door, so only your pet is the one exiting or entering your home. It can also let you know where on your property your pet is at any given time, or if you have multiple pets, indicate who is inside and who is outside.
So what does all of this lead to? Most of the appliance industry sees a future where we are not only connected to our appliances by smart phone or tablet, but where our appliances are also connected to each other. They see a home that’s so integrated that you can be alerted with a pop up on your TV when the washing machine has finished its cycle, or having your refrigerator alert you when something is about to spoil, suggesting a recipe based on its contents and preheating the oven accordingly.