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CES: Will People Actually Buy Smart Appliances?

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|Jan 9|magazine4 min read

One of the biggest trends out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada is the one that most people are having a hard time wrapping their brain around. Smart appliances? I remember a few years back when one of the major appliance makers designed a refrigerator with a flat screen television on the front, and I couldn’t think of a single time when I would utilise the technology.

But these smart devices are actually smart—as in Big Data and Internet of Things smart. Smart homes is the umbrella topic this year, with your mobile device doing all the work when it comes to operating the high-tech appliances.

Want to see if you have ice in your freezer? There’s an app for that. What if you have a roast that will take hours to cook, but you’re out and can’t preheat the oven in time? There’s an app for that, too.

“Smartphones are the toolbox where consumers go to manage day-to-day tasks,” said Liz VerSchure, general manager for GE’s connected appliances.” At GE, we’re using connected appliances to help homeowners maintain their products, save time and give peace of mind.”

Ovens and refrigerators aren’t the only home items that have gone smart either.  Light bulbs, crock pots, door locks, pots for plants and a full range of washer and dryers can now sync up with a mobile app. Companies like LG and GE are pushing these items hard, many of which will be in stores this year (if they aren’t already).

The biggest questions consumers and retailers alike are asking: will people actually buy smart appliances? Like the hybrid or electric car, I think it will take some time to people to warm to the idea of a smart home, especially with expensive prices. Although useful, people are so used to how appliances work currently that integrating an app might become more work in their daily routines. However, for the right tech-savvy person, these items will be on the must-have list.