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Appliances of the future will be able to 'talk' over internet [Mercury, The (South Africa)]
[January 15, 2014]

Appliances of the future will be able to 'talk' over internet [Mercury, The (South Africa)]

(Mercury, The (South Africa) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Appliances are becoming part of the family, weighing in with insights while helping with chores from cooking to doing laundry.

Home networks that allowed household items such as lamps, thermostats and locks to get "smart" with internet connections and computing power were among trends gaining steam at the Consumer Electronics Show that ended in Las Vegas on Friday.

South Korean home appliance titans LG and Samsung weighed in with systems to let people communicate with household equipment.

"We are texting friends and family throughout the day. Why not do the same thing with your air conditioning system or your vacuum?" asked LG national product trainer Randy Overton.

"You can have your refrigerator tell you what is in it or your kitchen range text you when a roast is almost done." LG unveiled a HomeChat system that lets people fire off text messages to appliances in natural language and then get responses couched in slightly playful attitude.

"It's about keeping in touch, and making it a little more fun, too," Overton said. "That is what technology is all about." LG devices that can sync to the network include a washer, stove, refrigerator and a robotic vacuum.

The refrigerator can text its owner when food is a day or so from spoiling, or respond to queries such as, "How much beer is left?" "HomeChat gives you the experience of talking to appliances around you," said LG chief technology officer Skott Ahn.

Samsung Electronics introduce Smart Home, a service for managing its smart TVs, home appliances and smartphones.

The service is due to roll out across Samsung devices in the first half of this year. The system integrates Samsung smartphones, appliances, cameras and Galaxy Gear smartwatches, according to the consumer electronics powerhouse.

Capabilities at launch will include letting people use smartphones or TVs to turn on air conditioning, activate lights and more, according to Samsung.

People will also be able to get real-time views streamed from appliances with built-in cameras.

"The service will gradually expand its coverage by including additional Samsung products and other manufacturers' devices and appliances," Samsung said in a release.

LG's Overton expected it to take a few years before there is a universal standard for communicating with appliances, but it would happen.

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