Blog / More CES News – LG Show a Glimpse of the Integrated Smart Home
I mentioned in an earlier article that our annual trip to the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) showed a few steps forward in the quest to automate the average consumer’s home with so-called Smart Technology based on the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Until this year, there was a wide variety of devices of dubious practicality that operated independently; they didn’t really talk to one another.
This year, LG – known for their appliances and TVs – devoted several hundred square feet of their costly display to an integrated home environment, complete with 2 millennials pretending to do common household tasks. Contrived – yes, but it was the first time a major manufacturer attempted to bring a practical aspect to the Smart Home with devices that actually communicated with each other. They used either the Google Home or Amazon Alexa devices.
As an aside, Samsung attempted the same type of display, but it was just plain dumb. The svelte demonstrator breathlessly announced the coup de grace of their demonstration; the ability to remotely start your car from the comfort of your home! Was she kidding? That commonplace convenience has been around for 25-plus years. Maybe she was from Arizona.
Back to LG. In the kitchen, the demonstrators were using the Smart appliances to prepare dinner. All of the food packaging had RF ID tags. These are tiny microchips embedded in the packaging that identify the contents, age (for best-before date), brand, and nutrition information. In some cases, it knew quantity – but more on that later. The large-screen tablet (built into the fridge door) had a menu planner application. It knew the available ingredients from the RF ID tags. Based on some verbal interaction with the cook, a menu selection was presented with options based on available ingredients and the cook’s preferences. Of course, common allergies and ingredient styles were respected (vegan, glutton-free, low sodium, and so on.)
Once the menu was determined, the tablet offered both audio and video step-by-step cooking instructions. Various appliances were started at appropriate times; stove elements and the oven for example. This was truly monkey-see, monkey-do for the most inept cook out there. My personal coup-de-gras came when the Smart wine fridge suggested the optimal wine pairing from available stock.
You might be wondering how the Smart-fridge knew ingredient quantities. The answer is simple. It knew the quantity when the package was bought. It simply subtracts the portions used in each recipe – and it can weigh the package using Smart sensors in the Fridge and pantry shelves, to verify its’ calculations.
On to the bedroom; it was time to change for dinner. Apparently the special occasion was a big date and our erstwhile Romeo wanted to look his best. The Smart closet had a large screen TV built into the door. It also knew what in the wardrobe was clean and what needed a quick freshen-up – thanks again to RF ID tags. Now for the magic; the closet suggested various clothes’ combinations, based on known styles and the occasion. It showed a large-screen image of Romeo in various combinations of available clothes with comments on suitability. The 360 degree image could be rotated at will. Mr. Smart-closet even modeled a few combinations of available new clothes that could be delivered in time for the Big Event; all Romeo had to say was “I like that one.”
Now you know why Amazon are excited about this technology.
The Smart-closet transferred the wardrobe choices to the freshen-up cubical for a quick steaming, and Romeo was ready to get dressed. While not demonstrated, it’s not hard to imagine Juliet’s closet talking to Romeo’s closet to avoid a couple’s fashion faux-pas.
Of course, the demo was carefully scripted. We’re a long way from having just-in-time drone-delivery of paprika and pants. But the technology is absolutely here right now. LG either have these products ready for delivery or in their final stages of development. Expect to see them in a store near you very soon!
The hard part will be determining which of these technologies is appropriate and secure. I’m not sure I’m ready for Amazon knowing what’s in my closet. Even if I was, when Amazon gets hacked – and they have in the past – then all sorts of nefarious people might know what’s in my closet.
And part of my personality is my sometimes-questionable fashion sense; just ask my work colleagues. I don’t want LG-technology overriding my fashion choices. Smart Home devices will soon become Smart office devices and they are going to start driving our business decisions. Tech-savvy marketers will know much more about their target audience. Smart HR will know much more about staff efficiency. Smart vehicles will know much more about staff driving habits.
But my most pressing first-world question is: Will the LG-Sommelier have a snooty and condescending attitude when recommending a wine pairing for my BBQ’d hamburgers?
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