From a tech angle, it is a 21.5” LED touch screen panel driven by a Tizen operating system that manages up to five family members' food, cooking, calendars, artistic, music, video, and memo needs – with many additional function apps to follow.
From a fridge angle, Family Hub 2.0 will appear on 3-Door, 4-Door French, and 4-Door Flex models, not all of which will come to Australia. These fridges have independent compressors, ice and water, and adjustable function areas.
The Family Hub received the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Innovation Award for the second year in a row – for the Family Hub 1.0 in 2016 and again this year 2017, in the home appliances and software/UI categories.
The Family Hub will allow family members to share photos, handwrite memos, post memos remotely, and view calendar updates. It has S Voice recognition technology – and an ever-increasing range of commands from shopping lists to weather, and “control other unspecified apps”.
Its initial partner applications include Grubhub, Glympse, Nomiku, Ring, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. In Australia, it will have a Woolworth’s food ordering and delivery app.
Each family member has an avatar, their own personal calendar, and space, and will use the hub in different ways. The providore will like the ability to remotely view what is inside, including being able to tag use-by dates. This lends itself to shopping lists, and even finding recipes using what is in the fridge. It is smart enough to do remote grocery ordering down the track. Kids may simply scrawl messages to avoid communicating directly with adults. Cooks can use the recipe, music or TV streaming. And it can be all accessed via a smartphone app.
The Family Hub has Bluetooth and external devices like speakers can be connected although it has a decent built-in speaker. It can receive via Wi-Di/Wi-Fi, TV casting and music streaming, and act as a controller for other smart appliances like a new smart built-in cooking line with products ranging from built-in double and single wall ovens, gas, induction, and electric cooktops, range hoods, dishwashers, and microwaves. These smart appliances connect to Wi-Fi, allowing users to start, control, and turn their kitchen equipment on or off remotely.
Yesterday I posted an overview of Samsung’s Regional Forum 2017. The strong message was that all Samsung’s home appliances would be smart and Family Hub 2.0 is just the start. A spokesman said that it would eventually talk to a range of devices like locks, security cameras, thermostats and other devices.
I also wrote about the new QLED TVs and in a similar vein they are smart enabled and will talk to other Samsung smart devices.
Samsung’s strategy is clever – use Wi-Fi, open standards, smartphone apps and build an ecosystem of its branded appliances in every home. Soon the choice will be to buy either a Samsung or compatible smart appliance or a dumb one that may not talk to other appliances. Very clever, Samsung.
The writer attended Samsung’s regional forum for Southeast Asia and Oceania as a guest of the company.