With IoT, appliance makers aim to create ‘smart homes’ – The Asian Age


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A microwave that accepts voice-over-recipes, a washing machine that takes commands from a smartphone app and a Wi-Fi enabled air conditioner connected to a smartphone—Appliance makers in India plan to put these innovations together to create smart Indian homes for consumers.

Internet of Things (IoT) that enables machines to interact with each other with minimal or no human intervention has spread across various consumer domains. Home appliance makers in India are keen on implementing IoT to everyday used home appliances.

“We are increasingly seeing Indian consumers stepping up from traditional devices to smart connected appliances that ensure simpler and easier usage,” Rajeev Jain, ?Vice President of LG Electronics India.

Keeping up with the changes in demand and the constant evaluation of new technology, LG has implemented IoT in appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines synced to diagnosis centres through a smart phone to resolve its technical issues. They also have in pipeline other IoT projects that include, microwave, enabled with voice support and washing machine, equipped with Near-field-communication to select appropriate wash cycles using a smartphone app.

The global market for IoT appliances has seen a positive start and is expected to grow tremendously. According to data from IHS, a research firm, about a million smart appliances were shipped worldwide in 2014.

By 2020, the number is expected to reach 223 million units. With inclusion of smaller home appliances, like coffee machines and rice cookers, the total number of smart devices sold in 2020 is expected to be around 700 million devices.

Wi-Fi enabled air conditioners that could be connected to smartphones and auto-operated through an app were launched by Videocon this year and saw a welcoming response from Indian consumers demonstrating that Indian market is hot for IoT appliances.

“There’s no doubt India is moving towards a more connected future, but the speed with which consumers make the transition to the internet of things is still to be determined,” Akshay Dhoot, Head of technology and Innovation at Videocon said.

However, there are challenges including, operations in the Indian price sensitive market place, increased cost of commodities and a channel partner dominated industry, faced while implementing expensive IoT technology on home appliances.

“While on one hand, consumers are increasingly demanding connectivity and convenience, ‘smart’ is not equivalent to putting sensors for the sake of sensors, but is about ensuring a tangible benefit and value proposition to the consumers,” Kamal Nandi, EVP and Business Head of Godrej Appliances said.

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