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Smart fridge….is it not to be or is it?

By the early 2000’s, the idea of connecting home appliances to the internet was becoming popular. In June LG was the first to launch the world’s first refrigerator. It was unsuccessful because consumers had seen it as unnecessary and expensive, at that time it was set at $20,000.

Now we fast forward to 2018 and the smart fridge is back on the market. This time it is cheaper and is more necessary with consumers using this technology on an everyday basis.

The new age of technology has taken over the market to make consumers lives easier but is it really making your life easier or is it taking more money out of your pocket. Let’s take a deeper look at the pros and cons of owning a smart fridge.

 

Pros

Refrigerators are becoming smarter every year, some even assisting you with grocery shopping and making sure you have the ingredients for your next recipe in the fridge. One of the most popular models on the market is the Samsung Family Hub and it does all that and more. It comes with a touchscreen just like a tablet and allows you to do pretty much everything even controlling the temperature/humidity settings. The display can showcase your calendar, type in notes/reminders, and display photos or music. Some models even let you order groceries from a local store.

 

Cons

The most important con to mention is the price. Starting around $5,500 these fresh new features definitely come with a hefty price tag. It doesn’t stop after you purchase one, the repairs are just as expensive and you know how things are made nowadays. Made to break within a couple of years, so you will go out and buy a new one. With Wifi capabilities that means your smart fridge can be hacked or become infected with a virus, so if you give it access to your email or social media, you can be at risk. The other issue is with the extra features after a year or two the brand discontinues any security updates as they develop newer versions and turn their focus to those. 

 

 Features of the Smart Fridge

  • 21.5-inch touchscreen.
  • Wifi connectivity.
  • Built-in camera- to view contents in the fridge.
  • Four-door cooling system.
  • FlexZone compartment- settings include Soft Freeze, Frozen, Cheese/veggies, Meat/fish and white wine.
  • Metal/Cooling technology- to ensure effective humidity monitoring allowing quick adjustment in-case the door is left open.
  • Water dispenser- with ice cube machine.
  • White Board- to allow users to scribble notes and doodles.
  • Recipe organizer-This app files recipes for your convenience.
  • Club des Chefs- which offers videos with cooking instructions.
  • StickiBoard- which imports calendars from Google and Outlook apps.
  • Tuneln- which allows streaming of internet radio and podcasts.
  • Pandora- the music streaming app.
  • TV mirroring- this gives the fridge display access to Samsung Smart TVs.
  • Photo Album.
  • Groceries/InstaCart by Mastercard- which gives you the option to order groceries and schedule a delivery to your home.
  • Timer-Timing app also monitors chilling of foods and marinating times not just what’s cooking.
  • Fridge Manager- this feature allows the user to view and change temperature and settings in the different compartments.

 

Conclusion

The problem seems to lie in the business model of smart devices. It’s exciting to see and experience the possibilities of smart devices but these companies are rushing in to exploit this new possibility without any clear and actual vision for what real value a smart device like a fridge would bring to a user. All of the leading smart fridge vendors are hardware manufacturers. They make their money by selling more hardware to customers. Which means they don’t care about old devices the following year. When I think of a smart device I want to see a new product that actually introduces new concepts in our lives, a product that identifies most existing problems. I don’t see an added value in a smart fridge as I do on a smartphone.

 

 

 

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