Thursday, 26 November 2015 08:40

Samsung prepares for the future Aussie smart-home

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Samsung is preparing for the smart home of the future with new research that supports Aussies want more connected devices that unobtrusively make their lives easier.

“The Australians@HOME research has given us the unique opportunity to better understand how we as nation are living today and explore how appliances and technology can help play a role in supporting Australian lives around the home, whether that be getting their children’s sport uniform washed in time or helping keep food fresh,” said Mike Lilly, Samsung Australia’s Head of Home Appliances.

Lilly’s view is that appliances like smart fridges, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, overs, coffeemakers, entertainment systems, air conditioners and more will be linked to smart monitors that sense whether you are away, at home, or asleep and schedule their tasks to make the best use of energy tariffs or vacant time. “It will be an evolution rather than a revolution but Samsung wants to lead the discussion,” he said.

All these devices are in fact part of the internet of things (IoT) that uses Wi-Fi to communicate to a smart home hub. Many of these devices are available now but the standard and software to drive them is still fragmented – getting a smart thermostat to talk to an air conditioner for example. Samsung is developing ‘SmartThings’ technology to join these devices together.

Australian’s exhibit some different characteristics to many other countries due its geographic spread, housing styles, lifestyle stages, family mores and their willingness to be early adopters of new technology.



 The Australians@HOME research was designed to explore four key areas of Australian households. Each area was explored through a series of questions to a representative sample of 1,000 Australians.

1.         Cooking in the Australian Home

The research revealed 24% of Australians admitted to throwing away fresh vegetables, despite also revealing a growing demand for buying fresh food.

Food wastage is also particularly higher in New South Wales, with households wasting an average of $1,475 worth of food per year, almost twice that of Queensland households. Australians are also making up to three grocery shops per week, including one big shop and two smaller top-up shops.

The current solution includes a fridge with configurable and flexible spaces – freezer, fresh fruit and vegetable storage, and drinks storage. Eventually it will include inventory management – who knows a calorie counter for those midnight munchies.

2.         Entertaining in the Australian Home

While 94% of Australians are happy to entertain family and friends at home, saving money still remains a high priority. The research identified that 55% of Australians prefer entertaining at home because it saves them money, and 45% believe it is more sociable. Entertaining at home also lends itself to more flexible options, offering a choice between entertaining inside or enjoying a BBQ outdoors.

Australians have noted that when it comes to the festive season, planning the perfect Christmas day celebration is very important, with Australians spending two and a half times their average monthly food bill on Christmas entertaining. Sitting above the national average, Victorians spend the most ($238), followed closely by Queenslanders ($237) and New South Wales residents ($231). Similarly, New South Wales residents and Queenslanders spend the most throughout the year on alcohol, averaging $67 and $64 respectively each month, compared to the national average of $60.

Again the current solution is configurable fridges to save wastage but it applies to cleaning for the big day, background music, smart lighting and smart dishwashers.

3.         Australian Attitudes to Cleaning   

The research found that 33% believe technology will make their household chores easier in the future. Currently, Australians spend an average of 12.35 hours per week on housework.

In terms of household chores, 48% of Australians feel that technology will make the task of vacuuming easier. Another area that Australians need assistance in is the laundry – almost half (48%) of all 18 – 24 year olds have had at least one item damaged in a washing machine in the last year and 35% of all Australians believe technology will make laundry tasks easier. But more than that smart washers can select time when power costs are lower or when you are asleep.

Samsung believes that with products like POWERbot there is an opportunity for technology to provide a way to help free up time so Australians can do more of the things they love. POWERBot is priced at $1799 but its leading edge as it includes a vacuum function instead of just a floor sweeper. I saw a demonstration and I think I want one!

4.         Connected Home Technology

While the research reveals that most Australians are aware of the benefits of their smartphone or tablet, Samsung believes there is an equal opportunity to raise awareness of home appliances as being ‘smart’ or ‘connected’ devices. By 2020, Samsung envisages that all its new home appliances will have some form of connectivity.  

While 81% of Australians see their TV as a smart device, in comparison only 44% are aware of the benefits and features of a smart refrigerator. Acknowledgement of other home appliances as smart devices is even lower, with only 21% aware of the oven being a connected device.

Samsung wants to bring new value to consumers’ lives, helping Australians with everyday chores through connected home devices that can be optimised for consumer’s needs and wants. For example, smart technology and connected compatible appliances can help deliver an intuitive experience, as well as helping Australians to better manage their time and resources.

Opinion

Will Aussies embrace this – yes. Our rate of adoption of new and leading edge technologies is not just about disposable incomes but we come from a country of two working parents, millennials that refuse to move out and larger homes that could benefit from this technology.

There are signs that beginnings of this movement is here with smart TV’s, entertainment systems, thermostats, locks, security systems, garage door openers, smart switches, motion detectors, and more entering the home. All these use IP and Wi-Fi to communicate with a smartphone or tablet – hence my assertion that it will be more about software than smart devices.

With increased connectivity comes increased security issues but these will be solved. The era of a hacked fridge is not yet upon us.

And what are some of your options?

Samsung Australians@HOME Products:

POWERbot VR9200 - RRP $1,799
Wi-Fi connectivity
Height Performance FullView SensorTM  for easy obstacle detection
Visionary MappingTM helps to provide consistent and effective cleaning

Ultra Large Capacity Washing Machine - RRP $3,999
10kg washer and 8kg dryer combination front loader
Wi-Fi connectivity
Auto Detergent Dispenser calculates the amount of laundry liquid required relative to the laundry weight

Chef Collection refrigerator - RRP $7,999
Triple Cooling System ensures each compartment has a separate air flow to help ensure consistent temperature is applied to produce
Fourth door convertible freezer that can be interchanged between four temperature settings
Built-in Chef’s tray for marinating meats

Chef Collection Vapour Oven - RRP $2,999
Wi-Fi connectivity
Gourmet Vapour Cooking technology helps to optimise the taste and texture of the food
Full touch LCD screen

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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