The smart home and internet of things have been hot topics for several years, but Samsung has now shown that intelligent appliances are within the grasp of Australian consumers this year.
The company this week gave a preview of new technologies that are set to be unleashed in Australia this year, at a regional demonstration event in Singapore.
One of the most prominent technologies showcased was the Family Hub 2.0 smart refrigerator. The upcoming new version can receive voice commands to control both fridge-related and family-related functions, as well as other appliances.
Samsung’s S Voice feature on its mobile phones has failed to catch on with consumers, and officials at the event could not immediately confirm whether the Family Hub 2.0 voice assistant is based on the same engine. The company also has the Bixby digital assistant in the pipeline, rumoured to be coming to its smartphones this year.
The Hub also has three in-fridge cameras that keep track of what food items are stored and the expiry date of each. These images can be accessed through a mobile app, so that users can see from the supermarket what items they need to buy. The fridge can also recognise the items and recommend recipes based on what’s available.
In Australia, Samsung has a deal with Woolworths to allow customers to order missing items directly from the fridge to be delivered to the door. Samsung officials declined to comment on whether other online grocery suppliers, like Amazon PrimeFresh — which is rumoured to be coming to Australia this year — would be considered for future integration.
Through a 21.5-inch touchscreen, Family Hub 2.0 allows household members to share photos, calendars, handwrite memos like a whiteboard, manage to-do lists and listen to streaming music. The Hub can also connect to and control other smart devices in the home, such as robot vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, sound systems and televisions.
Samsung’s new robot vacuum cleaner Powerbot VR7000 impressed attendees with its connectedness and intelligence. The user has full control of the device through a mobile app, meaning one could remotely instruct it to clean the house before guests arrive. The vacuum also initially maps and memorises the layout of the home to optimise its route for future trips, which Samsung claimed was a differentiator to other brands.
The Korean manufacturer also showcased its new QLED televisions, which it claims is superior to the current OLED technology, and a new laundry appliance that has two washers and a dryer in one unit – also controllable over the internet with a mobile app.
The release dates and prices for Australia could not yet be confirmed for any of the new devices on show, although they are all reportedly arriving this year.
The journalist travelled to Singapore courtesy of Samsung.