Will Smart Appliances prove to be the Next Big Thing?

Smart appliances connect with your smartphone to do things smartly and in an easier way. A user can control and monitor operations of numerous devices such as refrigerator, oven, washer, heater, aircon and other home/office appliances from anywhere with a smartphone or from any wireless device/network.

This technology is enabled through wireless communication for e.g., Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth, PLCM, NFC or Zigbee® technology.

Enhanced Mobility Experience:

With smart appliances you can do the following things:

l  Start your air conditioner prior to your arrival to cool your place;

l  Ask your refrigerator to prepare ice for you before you arrive home;

l  Preheat your oven by a remote command and prepare it for cooking;

l  Unlock Home doors while you are parking the car in your garage;

l  Track your dishwasher to let you know over an email when it’s done doing dishes

Monetary Reliefs:

Smart appliances will enable users to reduce electrical bills by delaying operation when energy costs are at its peak. Additionally, devices can also notify about service alerts, changing filters which will help in smooth operation of appliances hence avoiding additional repairing costs.

Let’s Have a Glimpse On The Filing Trends:

The market is continuously growing with the smart appliances market estimated to reach USD 37.2 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 15.4% between 2015 and 2020.

Many global innovations are taking place in the smart appliances field. As shown in FIG.1,there are many countries with considerable patent filings in smart appliances/smart home technology led by US.

fig1_chetan

FIG.1

Managing Control and Complexity:

As researchers say, “The Internet of Things” can quickly become an “Internet of Broken Things”.

There is a flipside also to the smart appliances market.FIG.2 shows the various problems associated with the use of smart appliances and how this reality it will affect us.

Fig_chetan

FIG.2

These problems can be explained as follows:

 

Restricted Operations:

Most of the companies are selling their appliances by using the term “Smart” just to lure consumers with their product. But what does this “smart” mean? Is the meaning same for both the manufacturers and the consumers? For e.g. smart refrigerators notify the users when they left the door open, if this refrigerator is smart then why it does not close the door by itself? A smart dish washer sends a notification over an email that dishwashing is done. Aren’t we already overloaded with extra information?

Also, the use of these appliances belongs to specific group of community who exactly knows how to operate and handle them, i.e.

What if an unskilled person who uses these appliances does not have a smartphone or does not know how to take advantage of smart appliances?

There is a big void which companies need to fill before defining their product smart rather than just focusing on manufacturing them.

Absence of Integration:

Imagine what happens when you also want remote control/monitoring of multiple devices like your stove, door, lights, refrigerator?

Would you want separate connections and proprietary interfaces for all these things?

How many user manuals do you really want to read?

In today’ world, the smart appliances are not able to work well with multiple vendors. This could be the reason why the adaption is so difficult.

Uncertain Future:

But will there be any updates in the touch screen platforms?

If there is any fault in electronic system?

Also, there is no guarantee that companies will provide constant updates or improvement in the current system. This leaves the user with the uncertainty of the future of current smart appliances.

Reliability and Security Concerns:

What if someone hacked your automatic garage doors, or get illegal access of various smart equipment’s in your house?

We are living in the world full of networks, automated operations, wireless transmissions wherein companies try their best to protect the product/appliances from any sort of outside harm. Yet the news/stories of cyberattacks, hackings are very common.

Smart appliances send and receive data remotely hence security needs to be reliable.

Do We Really Need a Smart Appliance Right Now?

We need to ask ourselves.

Smart appliances need more definition and more features rather than just sending notifications. Appliance life cycle, after sales support, energy consumption, device reliability needs a special attention from the appliance manufacturers.