Is Investing in a Smart Refrigerator a Smart Decision?
Take a look at the entertainment and convenience options a smart refrigerator can bring into your home
December 28, 2016
Refrigerator models have basically remained the same for the last 30 years, from approximately 1980 through 2010. Some functional advances took place during these years, like multiple doors, new era finishes and adding ice and water in the door. However, advanced technology has been described as limited except for minor improvements in energy efficiency. Well, times have changed, and that’s certainly not the case anymore.
There has been a lot of buzz over the past few years about smart refrigerators. Some have found these improvements to be very positive; whereas others have questioned the validity of using advanced technology applications in refrigerators. One thing’s for sure, manufacturers have advanced the old family ice box well into the 21st century with today’s smart refrigerator designs.
We’ve identified two main selling points for smart refrigerators – advanced energy efficiency and an entertainment/convenience component.
Refrigerators run 24 / 7 and account for roughly 5% of the average U.S. home’s annual energy consumption. An energy saving refrigerator model can save 10% over a model that was manufactured just ten years ago!
According to Michael Kanellos, a leading energy and technology consultant, refrigerators made in 1980 consumed over 1,250 kilowatt hours annually, while today’s models use less than 500 kilowatt hours. That’s a 60% improvement in energy savings. But wait…there’s more!
The next great hope for even more energy efficiency improvements lies with a new type of linear compressor that is being developed in a partnership with Whirlpool and the U.S. Department of Energy. Traditional compressors are the key component that keeps the fridge cold and that has been the case for over 40 years with oil being the primary lubricant source. The new linear compressor uses a refrigerant gas to cool the air, lubricate the compressor and eliminate the need for oil entirely. Additionally, the size of the new compressor is so small, it can be placed just about anywhere in the fridge. This size reduction will result in new refrigerator models being developed in new shapes and sizes.
|"One thing’s for sure, manufacturers have advanced the old family ice box well into the 21st century with today’s smart refrigerator designs."|
Entertainment Options for Everyone in Your Kitchen
The latest smart technology advances turn ordinary-looking refrigerators into something out of a sci-fi movie that tends to lend an element of entertainment or convenience to the appliance.
Samsung has developed the “Family Hub,” which is a Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen that enables you to manage your groceries, sync everyone’s personal calendar, send notes to your family members, display photos and play your favorite music, movies and TV shows.
Select Samsung refrigerators that feature the Family Hub include three built-in cameras that take pictures each time the doors are closed. This allows you to review the photos anytime from your smartphone so you can check the inventory anytime, anywhere. This is a fantastic feature when you can’t recall if you are low on milk, orange juice or bananas while you’re at the grocery store.
The calendar allows you to keep track of everyone’s schedule, so you’ll know when family dinners need to be placed on the back burner because of basketball games, hair cut appointments, doctor visits and more. You can also send notes back and forth to family members, which is great for reminding your kids to pick up their rooms or your spouse that the plumber is coming over at 3:00 p.m. to check the water heater thermostat.
But the most appealing features of the Family Hub are the entertainment options. You can program your Hub to play your favorite Pandora stations or You Tube channels, which are the perfect accompaniment while you’re preparing meals or trying to wake up the kids at the breakfast table before school. You can also flip on your favorite soap opera, home improvement show or reality program just to get lost for a few minutes during the day.
Convenience Taken to the Next Level
Samsung has also introduced the Food Showcase to some of its smart refrigerator models. The Food Showcase serves as a gateway to the items you use most often that are positioned in the door. Simply open the Showcase door and take out your milk jug, bottled water, sports drinks, condiments and other items that tend to get a lot of use each day.
The Showcase can be thought of as a double-layer door that you can place your arm through to reach whatever items you happen to be craving at the moment. It’s a big time and energy saver because only the outermost portion of the entire door opens, so less cooled air escapes, perfect for quick grabs of your favorite food and beverages.
So as you can see, smart refrigerators incorporate advanced technology that was only fantasy a couple decades ago, but is now very much an everyday reality. And that makes purchasing these appliances a smart decision.