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Alexa Adds Voice Control To LG’s SmartThinQ Smart Home; Also Bows Smart Fridge

Ecosystem also works with Amazon Dash to order items

In arguably its biggest-brand name licensing partner deal yet, Amazon’s Alexa smart voice-command technology will now enable control of LG’s SmartThinQ smart-home system. In addition, SmartThinQ’s remote sensors also will be compatible with Amazon’s automatic product-ordering Dash technology.

Originally shown at CES 2016 and already available since July in South Korea, LG used IFA as a launching pad to introduce its SmartThinQ smart-home ecosystem to Europe and eventually the U.S. sometime next year.

Imbued with Amazon’s Alexa technology, the Echolike SmartThinQ Bluetooth speaker/hub can now respond and control LG’s varying SmartThinQ devices and appliances. A user can instruct the hub to get an LG smart appliance to function, while a dumb washing machine with a Dash-compatible SmartThinQ sensor attached can both notify a user when a laundry cycle is complete, but can also place an order at Amazon for more detergent.

“Collaborating with innovative industry leaders is our core strategy to make LG smart home solutions even more accessible and convenient to consumers,” said Jo Seong-jin, president of LG Electronics and Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “We believe that differentiating our IoT technology through openness and collaboration will benefit far more customers than a closed system.”

At IFA, LG also unveiled a series of new SmartThinQ devices, including a smart light bulb, a smart plug and a smart motion sensor.

The company also demonstrated a new smart refrigerator, an obvious follow-up to rival Samsung’s new Family Hub refrigerator. LG’s Smart InstaView Door-in-Door cooler is equipped with a 29-inch touchscreen, as opposed to the Family’s Hub’s smaller and more traditional 21-inch in-door tablet.

Running Windows 10 and powered by the Intel Atom-powered Intel Compute Stick, the InstaView refrigerator’s touchscreen is both a tablet and an transparent window. Double-knocking on the screen or tapping the Windows’ InstaView tile icon turns it from touchscreen solid to milky opaque, which allows users to peek inside the fridge without opening the door.

Inside the InstaView is a 2-megapixel camera with a panoramic lens to capture interior images that can be viewed on a smartphone by the user while grocery shopping.

InstaView was just launched in South Korea, but there was no word on when it would be available elsewhere or for how much.