Friday, 31 October 2014

LG eclipses rivals with “talking” appliances

With the smart HomeChat™ service, you can now “instruct” and receive updates from your fridge, microwave or washing machine
Talk to you appliances through LG HomeChat service.

One would think only a significant leap into the future would yield smart appliances that “chat.” LG Electronics seems to have leaped light years into the future and recently announced the launch of appliances with revolutionary HomeChat™ messaging service in South Korea.

The interactive new feature employs Natural Language Processing (NLP) and LINE, the popular mobile messenger app with over 300 million users, to let homeowners communicate, control, monitor and share content with LG’s latest smart appliances.

This is not the first time the electronic manufacturer is attempting to stretch the limits in enhancing the interactivity of its products with end users, the development of the Werniche Project has seen LG make quick progress in incorporating voice commands. Known as VoiceMate, LG's voice recognition technology has only recently entered the international stage.

Electronics manufacturers have for some time been toying with voice commands to make consumer's lives easier. Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant built into the iPhone, was at one time the most prominent example of a mobile voice interface. But voice functionality is built into Android, the Windows Phone platform, and most other mobile systems, as well as many apps.

Voice-command interfaces are now almost pervasive in most electronic devices, from mobile phones, TVs, even automobiles. The concept of holding a conversation with a computer seemed pure science fiction until recently. “Our unyielding quest is to make our smart appliances sophisticated,” Taeick Son, Managing Director LG East Africa.

LGs premium smart appliance lineup includes a camera-equipped refrigerator, a washing machine that allows users to start and download washing cycles remotely via HomeChat™ and a Lightwave oven that supports NFC and WiFi for convenient control from any location.

LG HomeChat™ incorporates the popular LINE application to allow users to receive recommendations and control settings when away from home. “With an intuitive interface, HomeChat™ makes communicating with LG’s smart refrigerator, washing machine or oven much like chatting with a close friend,” says Mr Kim. 

For extra convenience, the Quick Button feature enables fast and easy access to each appliance’s most commonly used functions. HomeChat™ also gives users the choice of three different modes: Vacation, Away and Return-home. LG’s new service even brings an element of fun to appliances, offering a selection of over 40 unique LINE stickers to add an enjoyable, personal component to conversations.

“Today’s intelligent home appliances offer a variety of useful functions but many consumers still find setting them up an extremely complicated process.” said Seong-jin Jo, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Appliance Company. “Not only does LG HomeChat help simplify and enhance our products, they also deliver a unique user experience, adding even more value to our customers’ lives.”

The smart refrigerator incorporates several breakthrough innovations, such as the Smart View feature. Using the industry’s first built-in internal refrigerator camera positioned at the top of the main compartment, users can monitor exactly what’s inside their refrigerator on their smartphones or tablets.

The Smart Manager’s Freshness Tracker makes it possible to input a wide range of foods and beverages to keep track of expiration dates. The fridge also has a unique Health Manager can make recipe recommendations as well as daily and weekly meal plans based on the user’s personal profile. Age, sex, weight and height information are used to determine body mass index (BMI), which is then used to create an appropriate, personalized meal plan.

This is a clear indicator the pace of technological advancement and increasing sophistication. A growing number of people now talk to their mobile smart phones, asking them to send e-mail and text messages, search for directions, or find information on the Web.

In addition the new wave of interconnected smart appliances such as the Smart Refrigerator and HOM-BOT also have built-in smart technology which are able to be operated via voice commands or programmed remotely allowing users who cannot physically operate these devices to effectively engage with the technology.

Voice-command interfaces are now almost pervasive in most electronic devices, from mobile phones, TVs, even automobiles. The concept of holding a conversation with an appliance seemed pure science fiction, not anymore. 

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