We used to think that smart houses only existed in science fiction. However, with the ever-expanding “Internet of things,” these science-fiction ideas are becoming a reality right before our eyes. For example, you can check your email while sitting at a stoplight. Home security companies allow you to arm and disarm systems, and to remotely monitor your home using a tablet or phone. Now, even refrigerators are learning to communicate. So-called smart appliance options are rapidly growing in popularity. What does that mean for the future of your kitchen?
What is a Smart Appliance?
You already understand the capabilities of a smartphone. Imagine those in a refrigerator. A smart appliance can connect to the web, allowing you to stream music, play videos, leave messages for family members, or even make notes about what you need to pick up from the store. No more need for a magnetized notepad to jot down milk and eggs. To some, this technology may seem unnecessary, but it has been engineered to make your life easier.
Having the technology to surf the web from your refrigerator is not the only component that really makes it smart. These new units, as well as other appliances, are designed to work with your power company to become more energy efficient. A refrigerator is plugged in 24/7, and other appliances, such as a microwave, consume a significant amount of energy in the average home. When designed with the environment in mind, these appliances can dramatically reduce your utility bills.
Does Such Technology Exist?
The technology is already here, however, it’s somewhat limited at the moment. Some manufacturers are working to create apps that will allow you to control smart systems throughout your home. In the near future, you could have all of your appliances synced to the same network and controlled by a swipe of your finger.
Major retail manufacturers have already put out refrigerators with touch screens. Similar to your phone, you can download apps on these units to help you around the kitchen. Newer systems have technology built in that help repairmen quickly diagnose a malfunction, often cutting repair time in half.
One manufacturer has announced a line of washers and dryers that will be able to communicate with one another. While the pair is not on the market yet, these tools promise great things. The new washer will be able to tell the dryer what type of wash cycle it just completed. This allows the dryer to determine how long to set the drying cycle to dry the clothing completely. Some units even communicate with the power company’s grid in order to optimize energy efficiency.
Smart appliances are here to stay. In the coming years, the technology will continue to advance, and new products will enter homes across the world. They will simplify everyday tasks and alter life as we know it.