At last year’s CES, we got a look at LG’s HomeChat service. Its line of refrigerators, ovens, and washers let users send messages to their devices remotely. The products launched in Korea back in May and will come to U.S. markets in the first half of 2015.
Using the Line messenger service to send text or voice messages, homeowners can communicate with HomeChat. The fridges have an internal camera, so you can check out if you have milk before buying more at the grocery store. And forget hanging artwork on the fridge; LG’s new model can upload photos to its panel. Text messages can remotely start or stop laundry cycles on the washer, and new cycles, such as Baby Care, aren’t built-in but can be downloaded.
The smart oven pulls double duty, recommending recipes then setting itself to the correct temperature. Users can set text the air conditioner before they reach home, so it starts cooling the house, instead of wasting energy on an empty home. LG’s Music Flow mobile app works with smart speakers to play a party mix, alerting you when it’s time for a dentist appointment, or working on a sleep timer to shut off after an hour.
HomeChat has three main smart functions: Vacation, Leaving Home, and Coming Home. Devices can go into a kind of “hibernation” mode if you’ll be away from the house for a long while and can “wake up” when alerted you’ll be arriving back.
Right now, it seems the devices don’t have much in common, aside from the fact that they’re all from LG. The fridge isn’t working in concert with the oven to sync the recommended recipes with the recommended recipes, for example. No doubt the technology will get there soon enough, but the question is, will that be an update you can simply download, like a new laundry cycle, or will it require upgrading to a whole new fridge?