LG home appliances get smarter with THINQ
By Alan Brandon
January 5, 2011
You still have to do your own laundry and cooking, but LG promises its new THINQ technology will make it easier and more economical to manage your home appliances. LG is showing off its latest smart refrigerators, stoves, and washers at CES 2011 and the appliances are loaded with energy-saving, diagnostic and customization features, including the ability to monitor and control your appliances using your smartphone or tablet.
The LG THINQ features include Smart Grid, Smart Diagnosis, Smart Access, Smart Adapt, and Food Management. These features let you use the THINQ smart network to manage your LG refrigerator, washing machine, oven, and robotic vacuum cleaner. The THINQ features are available on the appliances themselves, or using a Wi-Fi network connection for remote access from an app on your smartphone or tablet. (LG notes that not all of the remote connectivity features are available on all appliances yet.)
The LG THINQ energy manager, Smart Grid, helps to ensure that your appliances use the least energy and at the cheapest times. Smart Grid offers you a “recommend time” to do the wash at off-peak electricity rates, or a “lowest rate” option that chooses the time when electricity rates are lowest. LG’s ovens and refrigerators can also use Smart Grid to adjust their functions to save on energy bills.
The display on the LG appliances shows energy consumption and associated costs over time, and the data is also be available on your smartphones or tablet. LG refrigerators even count and display the number of times you open the refrigerator door, letting you save even more energy, or just feel guilty about your snacking habits.
LG THINQ features a troubleshooting feature, called Smart Diagnosis, which notices if something is wrong with your LG appliance. For minor problems, such as a refrigerator door left open, the issue is shown on the appliance display. Future models will alert you on your smartphone over a Wi-Fi connection.
For larger issues, you can call LG customer service and a technician will be able to diagnose your appliance by downloading a series of tones over the phone. You can also diagnose your washing machines at home using the LG THINQ app on your smartphone.
Smart Access is the LG THINQ feature that lets you monitor, control, and secure your home appliances remotely, even from outside your home. For example, LG says you can see how much longer your dinner has to cook or check the contents of the refrigerator. If you have one of LG’s HOM-BOT robotic vacuum cleaners you will even be able to instruct it to clean up, or you can visually check inside your house using the vacuum’s video camera.
Smart Adapt lets you upgrade and personalize your LG THINQ appliances. With Smart Adapt, you can download the latest upgrades and options for your appliances, including pre-programmed recipes and specialized washing cycles.
The LG THINQ Food management feature lets you monitor your refrigerator and helps to manage your groceries. Using voice commands or drag-and-drop food icons on the refrigerator’s LCD display, you can identify what is in the refrigerator and where it is. This information is also available from your smartphones or tablet, allowing you to check what you need from the supermarket.
Pricing and availability information is not yet released.
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