Some didn’t trust this new technology and felt they got by fine washing clothing with their hands, others were probably keen to give it a go to see if it makes the tedious job of washing clothes easier and faster. This was the start of the electric washing machine.
Early 20th century Woodrow washing machine was considered “smart” for its time. Image by Joe Mabel
Fast-forward 110 years and we are in the middle of a smart appliance revolution. Again, I think opinions are divided. While some people embrace smart tech, there are others who feel appliances are smart enough.
Like it or not soon most appliances will become smarter and more connected. The smart appliances that will succeed are the ones that seamlessly integrate and create value in our lives; The ones we can’t imagine living without.
We have identified a few with awesome technological advancements.
Here is a look at 5 smart appliances and the features to consider when upgrading.
Fridges have made a lot of progress in the last few years. Big advancement has been made most notably is an energy efficiency improvement of 40%.
The newest line of fridges has many other interesting features. Fridges that keep different compartments at the ideal temperatures are now considered standard.
Smart fridges now serve as a central point in the family home and digital memo board and family calendar. Fridges also connect to your favourite online store where you can order add items to your digital shopping cart and order them online as needed. For example, Samsung’s “The Family Hub” refrigerator comes 'with a Wifi enabled touchscreen that lets you manage your groceries, connect with your family and entertains you.'
New lines of smart fridges even have cameras that take a photo every time someone opens the fridge door… now you can know who ate last night’s leftovers!
Washing machines have traditionally been heavy on water and energy use. But new front-loader washing machines have larger capacity (up to 12kg) which means you can do a lot of laundry in a single load and they are much more energy efficient than traditional top loaders.
Smart washing machines, like LG’s SmartWashers, analyse the weight of smaller loads and then uses the right energy and water for that specific load. Easy trouble shooting is now able to be managed from your phone! You can get alerts and links to fix possible maintenance issues – without having to call a handyman.
The latest breeds of coffee machines allows coffee enthusiasts to control the machine from a smartphone or tablet. You can grind and brew fresh beans automatically, on demand.
The strength and flavour can be tailored to your taste (we can tell all you coffee lovers are drooling by now).
Some machines claim to serve as a morning alarm, with your perfect brew waiting for you when you wake up. Nothing like a ready-to-drink coffee to get you out of bed!
Some machines even integrate with smart watches. The machine is alerted by your smart watch that you didn’t get your regular amount of sleep, it then knows you need a morning boost and it makes the coffee stronger to help you start the day. How thoughtful!
However, at $2,500, the auto-everything Krups EA9010 is a pretty pricey investment. Let’s hope smart coffee makers are a little more affordable in the near future!
A new line of smaller, energy efficient convection ovens have also been developed that work well for everyday use and smaller family dinners. The oven features an HD camera and food ID technology. This combined with the oven’s internal scale and thermometer means the oven will suggest a cooking method and time – Breville’s Smart Oven is one such oven.
A digital thermometer will send an alert when the internal temperature of your food is perfect. No need to cut into chicken to see if its good, you will have perfectly cooked meals and a happy family with less effort.
The HD camera sends regular updates to your smartphone that allows you to monitor your food while you do other things.
These ovens use much less energy, made from easy-to-clean materials and insulate well – meaning the outside of the oven stays cool and child safe while the inside cooks.
The days of grainy black-and-white footage are long gone. Cameras now shoot in wide-lens, high-definition quality and automatically uploads the footage to the cloud in real time. Users get alerts and snapshots when the motion sensors in the camera detect activity.
These cameras are a great way to know when your children get home from school or have peace of mind that your home is secure when you are not home. They can send alerts about activity outside your home, like Nest’s outdoor security camera, which also continuously records up to 30 days of video securely in the cloud.
Some cameras also have built in speakers and microphones. You can speak up to get someone’s attention, yell at the dog to get off the couch, and hear what is happening at home. Night vision features have also improved which is great for evening or low-light use.
Technology is developing at a rapid pace and looking back at the Woodrow washing machine and comparing it to what you have today is mind-blowing.
Considering the advances the iPhone has made in the past 10 years, you can only wonder what modern home appliances will look like in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time.