Inside the World of Smart Appliances

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With just your mobile device, you can easily control your home appliances.

You can even start dinner on the way home from work!

Story by Ann Butenas

With technology making great strides in such revolutionary ways these days, it should come as no surprise that even our appliances can become state-of-the-art devices, easily operated and controlled by a smartphone, tablet or computer. Known as smart appliances, these products are designed to work in harmony with your mobile devices to make your appliances more convenient to use. Plus, they can help you navigate those stressful days when you are stuck in traffic on the way home from work but need to get dinner on the table in 45 minutes. With a smart appliance, getting dinner ready from your car doesn’t equate to hitting up the local fast food drive-through on the way home. It simply means preheating your oven from your car, making sure you are ready to get dinner on the table when you get home.

There are several benefits to having smart appliances, as they not only allow you control over your appliances when you are away from home, they also can notify you when your appliances are finished running and they can help you keep your appliances in good condition by alerting you when they need routine maintenance. Some of the smart appliances will even provide an energy report, letting you know how much electricity they are consuming so you can run them more efficiently.

Amanda Logston, Luxury Appliance Specialist with Nebraska Furniture Mart, shares some of her insights and experiences with the world of smart appliances.

KCH&S: What exactly is a smart appliance?

NFM: A smart appliance is an innovative way to cook and interact with the kitchen (or laundry room) using your smart phone, tablet or computer. With this connection, you have more control over the appliances. And these appliances can even turn people who don’t know how to cook into gourmet cooks with their pre-programmed recipes.  All you have to do is select what you want to make, follow a few simple instructions and the appliance will do all the thinking for you so your food comes out perfect.

KCH&S: How have smart appliances changed the functionality of the kitchen?

NFM: The kitchen is typically the heart of the home, and smart appliances allow the kitchen to become more of an interactive experience. With some smart appliance brands, you have the capability of pre-heating your oven via your phone on the way home from work.  Plus, if you leave home and are uncertain as to whether or not you turned off your oven, you can check that through your smart phone.

KCH&S: What are some popular smart appliances?

NFM: Refrigerators with built-in tablets give you the ability to see inside the fridge from your phone while you are at the store to determine what you have or what you might need. This appliance also allows you to make a shopping list on the fridge tablet which connects to your phone. You can even control the temperature of the refrigerator from your phone. (Another added benefit:  You can put your refrigerator on low power mode while on vacation…. right from your phone!)

Smart dishwashers have the technology installed to be started remotely, as do the smart washers and dryers. Overall, the most popular smart appliances are the wall ovens, ranges and washing machines/dryers.

KCH&S: Do smart appliances tend to cost more than regular ones?

NFM: Certainly with all of the technology involved with smart appliances, the price point is going to be somewhat higher than with standard appliances. However, in the long run that translates to savings in time; ease and convenience of use; and peace of mind.

KCH&S: What are a few good reasons to have smart appliances?

NFM: Not only can smart appliances add convenience to your life, but they can also notify you by sending alerts to your mobile device when they need maintenance or when there is a diagnostic issue. The technology in these appliances can identify any performance issues that might arise so you know exactly what is wrong with it. We see more and more customers starting to step into the the world of smart appliances now.

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