Alright, let's get this out of the way right away: The simple notion of a "smart" fridge is a little eye-rolly, but smart appliances are a thing and they're becoming more of a thing each day. While you might not see having one in your home any time soon, some folks already do, and others are looking to add the smart tech to their dwellings.
Let's take a look at a couple of the reasons you'd want to have yet another Wi-Fi connected device in your home.
🤔 I forget … did I already buy milk?
If you find yourself wondering what the heck you've got in your fridge after you've already left for the store, you might like to know that there's a trend developing: smart fridges with built-in cameras!
Using a separate smartphone app, you can get a quick look at what's inside your fridge (looks like I did already buy milk) no matter where you are! It's not something you need to use every day, but it's nice to know you've got a backup plan that doesn't involve multiple trips to the store.
Many of the newest models of smart fridges (like those just announced at CES 2017) feature wide-angle cameras. If I had to guess, I'd say it's likely to catch on.
LG's upcoming Smart InstaView refrigerator (opens in new tab) will feature built-in cameras.
👴🏻 Refrigerator magnets are so last year(s)
When you've got a gigantic internet-connected touchscreen on your fridge, you don't really need refrigerator magnets and papers.
Appliance manufacturers see these things (fridges) as the center of the family home. Many people use the fridge as a bulletin board for their family — leaving a note on the fridge means everyone sees it at some point.
With the technology packed into these appliances, you're not only seeing notes from mom — you're seeing the weather forecast, the date you put those now-brown oranges in the fridge, calendars, photos, recipes, a shopping list, etc.
Your fridge becomes what amounts to a multi-user tablet for communicating with others and accessing information online. I don't care what anyone says, that's friggin' cool. When you consider manufacturers have started to add built-in speakers to their smart fridges, it's easy to see how the fridge could become another point of entertainment for the home.
Samsung's working on a next-gen smart fridge with its Family Hub 2.0 technology, but its current generation Family Hub fridge already has many of the features I mentioned.
See at The Home Depot (opens in new tab)
🥘 Hey fridge, tell me how to make stew!
LG is putting the smart in smart fridge with its upcoming LG Smart InstaView refrigerator because it'll include a smart assistant: Amazon Alexa!
You'll be able to use the Alexa voice assistant as you would with an Echo or Echo Dot, which means you can easily ask for a recipe, order groceries from Amazon, command your smart home products, update your shopping list, play music, and more — all with your voice.
The company is also including its webOS smart platform which it says you'll be able to use to track expiration dates, peruse recipes, and leave notes for family members.
It also helps that the touchscreen display is a massive 29 inches in size. You can leave a lot of passive aggressive notes. 😉
☕️ Get your java going without getting out of bed
@mikahsargent One more reason..if you have our connected fridge w/K-Cup you can preheat your water from bed. #coffee https://t.co/zs8Jfu0ocD@mikahsargent One more reason..if you have our connected fridge w/K-Cup you can preheat your water from bed. #coffee https://t.co/zs8Jfu0ocD— GE Appliances PR (@GEAppliancesPR) February 21, 2017February 21, 2017
GE pointed me to its GE WiFi Connect line of smart appliances which includes an internet-connected fridge.
You can use the GE Kitchen app to get the hot water boiling for your morning cuppa joe (or tea), adjust the temperature of the fridge, receive alerts if you accidentally leave the door open, and more.
The appliances also feature IFTTT integrations, which makes for a whole 'nother layer of home automation fun.
❓ Right, OK, but do we need smart fridges?
No. No you don't. But I know I'd like to have one! Talking to your fridge about the weather, your commute, a recipe, or your schedule may seem a little strange, even to me, but when you consider the centrality of the fridge in your home and life … well, it kind of makes sense! I've always used the fridge as a communication location — there's a whiteboard on my fridge right now with notes for my partner.
Ditching the whiteboard and adding in music, Alexa, expiration warnings, built-in cameras, and did I mention Alexa‽ That sounds awesome to me, and I imagine it also sounds awesome to those folks who are connecting their phones to their fridges.
👂 Does it sound awesome to you?
Where do you stand on the whole "smart fridge" thing? Could you see adding the smart appliance to your life? Think it's the most ridiculous thing since Wi-Fi lightbulbs? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me a tweet!
Questions about home automation, HomeKit, iOS Home app, etc.?
If you've got any connected-living, smart home, home automation, or HomeKit questions, I would be pleased as punch to answer them for you! Head on over to the new Ask Mikah column in our forums and drop me a line!
- Ask Mikah
Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.
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