Smart phone, smart home, smart… appliances? Yes – even those.
Our life is filled with ‘smart’ technology that enables people to interact with each other, the home, the office – the world – like never before. It’s extended into our mobile phones – creating mini-computers we use to text, check email, browse Facebook, bank online, and sometimes… on occassion, to make a phone call. It’s in our homes – connecting the systems we interact with daily to simplify the way we live.
Now, ‘smart’ technology is being embedded in our appliances: refrigerators, ovens, washers/dryers, and more… all to enhance our life, conserve energy, and save money. Here are a few feature benefits of having a ‘smart’ appliance.
1. Pro-active service from your appliance manufacturer. Many manufacturers will be able to remotely monitor your appliance, notice if it is not performing as expected, and call you to schedule a service visit - even before the appliance stops working. That’s service!
Network-connected, or 'smart' appliances, provide better manufacturer service.
2. Energy costs vary throughout the course of a day. Connected appliances will be able to display your usage options so you can use the device at the time of day that makes sense for your family. Adjust simple features (such as a heating element) to lower energy costs and see it reflected on the screen before you hit ‘wash’.
As energy costs vary throughout the day, 'smart' appliances can guide your use habits for optimized savings.
3. Tired of throwing away rotten food? No more worries – or old food – as some refrigerators will be outfitted with the ability to manage your food freshness.
A display panel acts as a map to find your specialty produce when you need it.
4. Have a busy house where the refrigerator door gets left open throughout the day? Ever forget to turn off the oven after you were done baking? Not only is this a waste of energy every time it happens – it’s a danger for children and pets. Smart appliances will be able to send you an email, text message, ‘ping’ your in-ceiling speakers, and more – to inform you about the status of your kitchen – before it becomes a problem.
As people come and go, the doors may get left open. Smart appliances can notify you to shut the door (text, email, etc.) - unfortunately, they do not (yet) shut themselves.
5. As part of an automated home, smart appliances can display information on the same remotes, iPhone/iPad, or touchscreen that you use to control the music or lighting in your home. That’s smart – and convenient!
The heart of the home is a great location to go 'smart' - new construction or existing.
Smart appliances are a relatively new concept, with new technology, and many people may still be hesitant to jump on board. In this case, while in the planning stages for a kitchen design or in a current remodel – consider the need for connected appliances for future use. A simple and inexpensive consideration for your electric systems contractor would be to run a category 5e or 6 (cat5e / cat6) cable to your appliance locations.
This way, while your appliance may not be ‘smart’ now, at least YOU are as you plan for future needs.
To read more of Jamie’s work, click here to visit her website!