The 3 reasons “smart” appliances are still too dumb

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By: SGN Staff

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I was very pleased to get the guest post below because I've been mystified and frustrated by the current generation of smart appliances – especially as they apply to electric power utilities. Many of them tout their ability to talk to the grid, when there are virtually no grids capable of talking back. Why would consumers pay extra for features they don't understand and don't want?

 

Christian's editorial articulates some of the current shortcomings. Until and unless manufacturers respond to his three points, I wouldn't be worried about big numbers of smart appliances showing up in your service territory. You can safely ignore this supposed trend. Agree? Disagree? The Comment form awaits at the bottom. - Jesse Berst

 

By Christian DeFeo

 

“Smart homes of the future” are dominating industry news. General Electric envisions us building and living in intelligent homes by 2025 and Whirlpool already offers a complete line of “smart” washers and refrigerators. Though the prospect of more interactive and responsive appliances is both exciting and worth pursuing, element14 engineers experimenting with the technology have found the devices available today need improvement. Before we can achieve completely smart homes, we must look at why smart appliances are still too dumb. Here are the top three reasons:

 

1. Functionality

“Smart” refrigerators allow us to surf the web, but what purpose does that serve? Smart appliances must enhance our lives and solve new problems. For example, a refrigerator that notifies you of how much ice is left in the box, or a toaster that can warn you before your bread is burned, are appliances that reduce food waste and save you money. Important, everyday tasks should be made easier to complete. The technologies to do this – faster computing power and integration-ready open source platforms – exist and would make for much “smarter,” practical applications if utilized.