LAS VEGAS – Whirlpool, LG Electronics and Dacor have returned to International CES this week with a spate of futuristic kitchen appliances that mate basic majap functionality with Internet of Things wireless control and entertainment capabilities. Here’s a rundown of their 2014 introductions.
Whirlpool, the world’s largest majap maker, continues its low-key but consistent CES presence with a return engagement at the Mommy Tech TechZone at the Venetian Ballroom. Front and center within the company’s mock-up “Kitchen of the Future” is a forthcoming Bluetooth-enabled refrigerator dubbed CoolVox that will enable consumers to easily integrate entertainment into their kitchen routine.
The sound system refrigerator concept allows users to stream music or instructional podcasts from their iPhones, tablets, PCs or MP3 devices, with content from an iTunes account, a computer playlist or a Pandora or Spotify app. The devices act as remotes to adjust the volume or change the audio files.
According to a Whirlpool spokesperson, the concept falls under the company’s “Designed to Simplify” initiative, as it is “simplifying what you need in your kitchen to use this feature.”
Joining the CoolVox fridge in the Kitchen of the Future is an interactive cooktop concept that connects social and functional needs, the company said.
“Always with the consumer in mind, Whirlpool continues to design products focused on adapting to your life, sensing your specific needs – from cooking and cleaning to entertaining,” Whirlpool said in a statement. “By keeping your future in focus, Whirlpool helps consumers live the life they want by connecting their social and functional needs from appliances to fit their world, and expressing themselves in their homes by bringing personality and innovation to their appliances.
“At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Whirlpool is bringing these ideals together through both new products and innovative concepts for the future,” the company said.
LG, which again holds court in the massive North Hall Booth 8204, is showcasing its next generation of smart technologies that allow consumers to communicate, control, monitor and share content with its appliances via the mobile messenger app Line – available for all smartphone platforms and the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems – and LG’s new HomeChat service.
The latter allows users to communicate with their LG appliances from a single computer or mobile device without learning new commands or adding another remote control to their collection. For example, simply texting “I’m going on vacation” in HomeChat will result in the automatic response, “Should I convert to vacation mode?”, which can turn on a refrigerator’s powersaving mode, set a robotic vacuum cleaner to sweep the floor at 9 a.m. daily, and set a washer to run a laundry cycle the day before one’s return.
And, thanks to the messaging capabilities of Home- Chat, owners will be able to receive real-time status updates from their refrigerators regardless of their location, can remotely upload photos to the fridge’s LCD display panel via Line, and, using the panel or an LG smart refrigerator app on their smartphones, can learn what’s inside without opening the door, check expiration dates, and receive meal recommendations based on the contents.
Other applications for HomeChat include:
• programming LG’s Hom-Bot Square robotic vacuum cleaner to sweep a room in a particular pattern at a specific time and check its cleaning history;
• downloading updated wash cycles and receive download reminders, monitor the status of the washer, and receiving push alerts via smartphone or LG Smart TV when a wash cycle is completed; and
• receiving recipe recommendations from the smart oven, which can also provide a list of ingredients and auto-select the appropriate cooking settings.
“Always at the forefront of innovation, LG is continually striving to inspire smarter consumer lifestyles in meaningful ways,” said Seong-jin Jo, president/CEO of LG Electronics Home Appliance Co. “We’re excited to be able to bring to CES our smart appliances with the newest communication and intelligence capabilities.”
Meanwhile, Dacor, the ultra-premium kitchen appliance manufacturer, is expanding upon its CES debut last year with an updated version of its showpiece Discovery iQ 30-inch wall oven, which now has greater functionality and remote capabilities including remote cooking control from any Android or iOS device.
The same smart technology has also been incorporated into the Discovery’s new, bigger brother: Dacor’s first 48-inch Discovery iQ dual-fuel range. Like its smaller sibling, the range features a proprietary Discovery iQ Android cooking app that offers a pre-programmed recipe and cooking guide, plus a remote application for iOS and Android that allows for off-site control over WiFi.
In addition, Dacor is showcasing its Discovery WineStation, a four-bottle, commercial-grade wine dispenser and preservation system that keeps wine fresh for up to 60 days after opening, and can dispense amounts from as little as one-fourth of an ounce up to eight ounces.
“We are pleased to participate again this year in the most anticipated consumer technology conference in the world,” said Dacor president Steve Joseph. “Our new products are breaking ground in the kitchen appliance industry with smart technology that makes cooking an extension of the connected lifestyle.”
Dacor unveiled its wares to the tech media on Sunday at CES Unveiled in Mandalay Bay and will do so again tonight at ShowStoppers at the Wynn.
A rundown of CES majap introductions from Haier and Samsung will appear in the next issue.