LG jumps on smart home train
LG Electronics is going public with its Thinq line of wireless enabled appliances at the Consumer Electronics Show in the US this week.
The range encompasses white goods, smart meters and other products, and highlights LG’s early leap into the smart home trend, which brings together home media networks, domestic appliances like fridges, smart meters and handsets.
Carriers see smart homes as a way to increase their control over subscribers, by adding all these products to their networks alongside phones.
LG’s range brings together several areas of its manufacturing businesses, putting wireless data and web into products from its television and media unit, and from its activities in refrigerators and washing machines.
Robotic vacuum cleaners, ovens and smart meters are also included and all will be controllable from a single device, probably a tablet or even a smartphone.
With LG currently lagging behind its rivals in the smartphone world, this could be a way to put its Android and Windows devices center stage, as well as increasing their value to consumers and, with that, user loyalty.
It also allows LG to steal a march on far larger makers of white goods, such as Samsung or specialists like Electrolux, all of which will be eyeing the wireless trend too.
As GigaOM points out, LG has made more tentative steps into smart appliances before, notably with its DIOS internet refrigerator, which suffered from being ahead of its time, not to mention overpriced at $10,000 (€7,712).
This time, though, it is riding a major trend and is already testing its appliances with Korea's smart grid pilot project in Jeju island.
It believes communications between devices in the home will be via Wi-Fi, rather than the ZigBee standard favored by some, with cellular connections back to the service provider, utility or content vendor.