After showcasing the HomeChat messaging service at CES 2014, LG Electronics has on Wednesday announced the launch of its first 'premium smart appliances' with the feature installed, currently only for South Korea.
The HomeChat messaging service according to LG uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Line, the popular mobile messenger app, to let homeowners communicate, control, monitor and share content with smart appliances. The appliances are connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, and the user can also control some of the devices via NFC when in proximity.
The new smart appliance lineup from LG that supports HomeChat includes a camera-equipped refrigerator, a washing machine that allows users to start and download washing cycles remotely, and a Lightwave oven that supports NFC and Wi-Fi for convenient control from any location. After the smart appliances' launch in Korea, LG plans to introduce the HomeChat-compatible devices in other markets including the United States.
HomeChat gives users the choice of three different modes: Vacation, Away and Return-home. LG is also touting the convenience of the 'Quick Button' feature that enables quick access to commonly used functions. LG's new service is also claimed to even bring "an element of fun to appliances", offering a selection of over 40 unique Line stickers to "add an enjoyable, personal component to conversations."
"Today's intelligent home appliances offer a variety of useful functions but many consumers still find setting them up an extremely complicated process." said Seong-jin Jo, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Appliance Company. "Not only does LG HomeChat help simplify and enhance our products, they also deliver a unique user experience, adding even more value to our customers' lives."
LG Smart Refrigerator
LG says the Smart Refrigerator incorporates "several breakthrough innovations", such as the Smart View feature, to let users monitor exactly what's inside their refrigerator on their smartphones or tablets with the built-in internal refrigerator camera (seen below). The wide angle camera can show content not only in the upper shelves, but also food items on the bottom-most shelf. The built-in camera detects the opening and closing of the refrigerator, capturing images of the food items stored inside when last opened. Using HomeChat, users can immediately see exactly what they need to buy when they're at the grocery store or supermarket.
The Smart Manager feature on the built-in LCD panel or LG Smart Refrigerator smartphone app lets users can check the content of their refrigerator without opening the door, with such features as Freshness Tracker to keep track of expiration dates, and the recommendation of meal options based on the ingredients stored in the refrigerator.
Also available, will be LG's Health Manager, which can make recipe recommendations as well as daily and weekly meal plans based on the user's personal profile. Age, gender, weight and height information are used to determine body mass index (BMI), which is then used to create an appropriate, personalized meal plan.
LG Smart Washing Machine
LG is touting the Smart Washing Machine's ability to be remotely controlled via HomeChat, with users also capable of monitoring their LG smart washing machine from outside the home. By texting 'start washing cycle' and providing an estimated time of arrival, the smart washing machine will ensure that the laundry is finished by the time they get home. And by texting 'What are you doing?' users can receive real time updates on the washer's progress. It is also equipped with touch display that makes it easy to select or download appropriate wash cycles via a Wi-Fi connection.
LG Smart Lightwave Oven
With HomeChat and Recipe Search, homeowners can converse with their LG Smart Lightwave Oven to recommend recipes for specific dishes. Select Return-home using HomeChat and the smart oven will ask 'What dish would you like to make today?' and open the 'Recipe Search' window. When ready to cook, the oven will automatically set the oven's temperature and cooking time for the particular dish. Users can receive alerts on their smartphones when new recipes are available, encouraging family members to try new and interesting dishes.