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The fridges that snap selfies to help you shop

Samsung’s new range of smart refrigerators come with large touchscreens and built-in cameras. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News
Samsung’s new range of smart refrigerators come with large touchscreens and built-in cameras. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News

FROM SMART fridges that compile your shopping list and live-stream your groceries, to smart doorbells that monitor your yard for intruders and dodgy mail deliveries, Australian homes are getting smarter.

Everyday whitegoods are the latest devices to add cameras, internet connections, and artificial intelligence, and everything from light bulbs and smoke detectors to washing machines and floodlights are part of the revolution.

Experts say these devices will become smart enough to cook your dinner for you in future, or let you know when your milk is off, and they will be automatically monitored for faults and recalls so you know before they go on the blink.

Samsung’s latest Family Hub smart fridge features a touchscreen, Woolworths app, and voice recognition. Picture: Supplied
Samsung’s latest Family Hub smart fridge features a touchscreen, Woolworths app, and voice recognition. Picture: Supplied

While plenty of people mocked the first smart fridge released in Australia for $17,000 in 2004, the technology has come a long way.

Samsung recently launched new smart fridges with 21-inch touchscreens that could warn you when your food is about to expire, let you place a Woolworths order from its door, and even snap and send "shelfies" to your phone while you're in the supermarket.

Home appliances product head Mike Lilly said Samsung launched the second generation Family Hub smart fridges to "meet demand for this form of technology" from Australians keen to connect their whitegoods together and to the internet.

A Samsung fridge freezer in the smart-home section of a department store. Picture: Bloomberg
A Samsung fridge freezer in the smart-home section of a department store. Picture: Bloomberg

"Almost 12 months ago Samsung launched its first Family Hub refrigerator in Australia and the response has been incredible," Mr Lilly said.

"Right now the Family Hub 2.0 provides you the ability to sync your compatible home appliances, including your compatible washing machine or robotic vacuum and control them from your fridge door."

And Samsung isn't the only company adding internet connectivity and artificial intelligence to everyday appliances.

LG's latest combined washer and dryer connects to wi-fi to let users order their clothes to be washed while they're still out of the home, and to track their energy consumption.

The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm also features internet connectivity. Picture: Supplied
The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm also features internet connectivity. Picture: Supplied

Philips also added new products to its Hue smart lighting range last week, allowing White Ambience bulbs to turn on automatically and provide calming light throughout the day, while Ring delivered its second smart doorbell that live-streams video from your front door, and a floodlight that films what it illuminates.

Google-owned Nest Labs also launched a wide range of its smart products in Australia, from a smart smoke detector to an internet-connected outdoor security camera.

Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said smart products were already on the rise in Australia but their use would skyrocket over the next four years as prices fell.

"Smart appliances are typically priced between 30 to 100 per cent more than standard products now," he said. "Our research shows that most consumers are only comfortable paying 10 per cent more than non-smart products. There needs to be greater scale in their production to bring the prices down."

The Ring Video Doorbell and how it works. Picture: Supplied
The Ring Video Doorbell and how it works. Picture: Supplied

Telsyte predicts the value of smart home products will jump from just $377 million in 2016 to $4.7 billion by 2021 and, like internet-connected TVs, internet-savvy whitegoods will simply become the norm.

Mr Fadaghi said their cloud connection could also help when troubleshooting appliance breakdowns, and could prevent them altogether.

"Today you fill out a warranty form and mail it back to the manufacturer. In the future, you could just connect your whitegoods to your wi-fi and get proactive monitoring of any faults and remote diagnostics," he said.

"You might have a fridge that has a fault. The manufacturer could give you a call because they can see it in their system and tell you to make a booking to get it fixed under warranty."

SMART PRODUCTS YOU CAN BUY TODAY

- Samsung Family Hub 634L Fridge, $6199: The fridge can stream video from its shelves, and order groceries from its touchscreen.

- Philips Hue White Ambience Starter Kit, $190: These smart bulbs can turn on when they sense movement, and change hue depending on the time of day.

- LG TWINWash System, $3999: Using a SmartThinQ app, users can remotely start or monitor clothes washing.

- Ring Video Doorbell 2, $329: This smart doorbell senses motion at your front door, and sends alerts and live video to connected smartphones.

- Nest Protect, $189: This smoke alarm detects smoke and carbon monoxide, sends alerts to your smartphone, and can light up when it detects movement.

Topics:  games and gadgets google lg nest phillips samsung technology



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