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Smarter, Wi-Fi Kitchens Coming

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 20/08/2013

New Wi-Fi appliances coming, says Mike Lilly, Samsung Head of Appliances

But its not just Internet connectivity that are making appliance smarter, says Lilly, its everyday practicality.  

Its about making them easier to use, more intelligent, he told CN in an interview. "We're always thinking about the user...and what the use might be."  

The SodaStream sparkling water dispenser on its newly launched French door Refrigerator gives it "good bragging rights... its a massive deal" he says -  the first of its kind in Australia. 

This also gives the humble fridge an added health benefit - encouraging people to drink more water, and demand for sparking water is rising in Oz.

He also believes the added feature is enough to convince consumers to part with their cash. 

However, it is likely predominantly premium users, who will be prepared to fork out $5,000 for a fridge that's big enough to fit a whole family, never mind feed one. 

"We re always focusing on premium products" he says.

 "The key for us is getting the right innovation on products", tapping into sparking water market is one such trend.  

"Big success for this fridge will be areas of Sydney and Melbourne and others with high sparkling water consumption...that's where we'll target our activity," says Lilly. 

"Of course its higher end, but its a strong enough feature to prompt desire to upgrade from an existing model."  

There's a desire in Australia for bigger appliances, bigger capacity, he says. Appliances in general are getting sexier, and its market thats "always stable."  

French door Refrigerator demand is still growing and above 600 litre models is "starting to see growth", although admits its still slow.  

"We're seeing the beginning of the connected" home, says Lilly. In the past year, Samsung has launched WiFi enabled washing machines, fridges, air conditioning units, which can be controlled from a smartphone

Samsung may soon be about to launch an appliance store in store in major retailer, to demo these smart, interconnected features in practice. 

There's a "desire" for smart features in appliances, and Samsung is planning to release more WiFi connected appliances "down the track". 

But its still early days for smart appliances, he says. 

"Conceptually the ideas are there but are not quite ready for this market yet." 

But are users actually using Internet apps on their fridge and washing machine?

"When we talk about smart its about usability yes, there is a [Internet] connected element" but 'smart' is also about features to make them more intelligent. 

But don't expect any small appliances - Samsung is focusing on major domestic appliances for now - vacuums , microwaves, fridges. 

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