Las Vegas — LG Electronics USA plans to extend its HomeChat mobile control service to a wide array of appliance and audio products over the next six months.
The program, first announced last January, is layered over the open Line mobile messenger platform. Using the Line messenger app, available for Android and iOS, users can operate and control HomeChat-enabled LG products through their mobile devices using either text or voice commands.
LG plans to extend its HomeChat virtual assistant to a lineup of smart majaps that will include a refrigerator, laundry pair, oven, air conditioner and vacuum cleaner.
In audio, HomeChat will allow users to relay simple text commands like “play songs for party” or “turn off music after one hour” to the company’s Music Flow Wi-Fi portable speakers.
Pricing and ship dates have not been announced.
“We find that consumers always look for an easier way to manage their busy households, and HomeChat helps simplify the process of communicating with appliances,” said LG home appliance senior VP T.J. Lee. “Now, users can ‘speak’ naturally with their appliances through text without having to input special computer commands.”
Indeed, HomeChat employs natural language processing technology that allows users to easily communicate, control, monitor and share content with their devices. For example, the smart refrigerator, using an interior camera, can relay images of its contents while owners are grocery shopping, and allows users to upload photos to the fridge’s exterior display.
In laundry, HomeChat allows users to monitor the progress of the wash or dry cycles and even download new cycles, while the smart oven will relay recipe recommendations and necessary ingredients, and auto-select the appropriate cooking mode.
HomeChat can also control the products’ energy consumption by placing them in low-usage Vacation or Leaving Home modes. Devices can also be powered up by placing them in Coming Home mode, which, when used for example with the smart air conditioner, can cool the home in advance of the owner’s arrival.
LG will show select HomeChat-enabled products next week at the 2015 International CES.