A: What are you doing?
B: The temperature inside is 2°C
A: Increase it to 5.
B: Are you sure…?
Quite a random and bizarre conversation?
Who do you think it is between? Take a wild guess. Give up?
It's between a person and his/her fridge.
No, this isn't a hypothetical situation.
LG Electronics announced the launch of its premium 'smart appliances' with HomeChat messaging service at a recent press meet. HomeChat employs Natural Language Processing and mobile messenger app LINE, allowing consumers to communicate, control, monitor and share content with their smart appliances, which at the moment are a camera-equipped refrigerator, a washing machine that allows users to start and download washing cycles via HomeChat, and a lightwave oven that supports Near Field Communication and Wi-Fi.
So, want to get groceries on your way back home?
Just get your smart fridge to send you an image of the items inside, explained company engineers, telling you instantly what you're running short on. Or, perhaps, you're at a late-night movie and have just remembered you forgot to wash the clothes, not an inviting prospect first thing in the morning. You can ping the smart washing machine "start washing cycle". By the time you return, it's all done.
Stressing on LG's aim to bring more convenience into consumers' lives, president and CEO of the conglomerate's Home Appliance Company Seong-jin Jo said: "Today's intelligent home appliances offer a variety of useful functions but many consumers find setting them up a complicated process. Not only does LG HomeChat help simplify and enhance our products, it also delivers a unique user experience."
However, HomeChat, which is just six months old, has been launched only in South Korea at the moment and its introduction in other markets, including India, will depend on the feedback in the company's home country.
Meanwhile, for India, a range of energy-saving refrigerators have been rolled out, say company executives, adding, the Power Cut EverCool model, which keeps items inside cool for up to seven hours in case of a power outage, has received "overwhelming response" from consumers in the sub-continent.
LG added that its Charcoal Lighting Heater microwave, too, has been developed especially for the Indian market based on its India Insight Program, which brings forth the specific requirements of consumers here.
With this unveiling of a series of appliances, is there pressure on LG to maintain its position as a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics? "Why would there be? We're among the top 3 brands in 21 markets. Besides, we believe in quality, not quantity," said Ken Hong, director, corporate communications, LG Electronics.
(This correspondent was a part of the press meet in South Korea at LG's invitation)