Internet Refrigerator - Hype Or Helpful?
Being in the appliance trade can be very interesting. Every day there is something new.
What will manufacturer A offer to the public this year to increase their market share? Will manufacturer B counter with something similar, or a product that is bigger or fancier? Will the industry follow its own marketing strategies or branch off into the realm of the unusual? Will consumers turn their back on the contemporary this year in favour of the overly stylized? Is the public going to buy white, bisque, stainless steel, or pebble finished appliances next year?
All these are questions that give marketing executives gray hair.
Something unusual -------------------
Generally the products offered by appliance producers are fairly conservative in design. But every now and then something unusual appears on the market. Right now it is the internet refrigerator. A refrigerator that you hook up to your telephone line so it can do its magic.
One of the first to introduce this concept to the public was LG Electronics. A Korean based company now distributing appliances all over the world. They have been the innovators of many changes to the appliance industry.
They have recently introduced a refrigerator with a television in the door. It allows you to watch your favourite programs while getting supper ready. Also, messages can be left on the screen for family members to see later.
The Future --------------------------
Manufacturers have been contemplating an internet refrigerator that has a bar code scanner built into the door. So every time a package is added to, or removed from the refrigerator it keeps track of it. That means that you would know what is inside the refrigerator with the simple touch of a button. The refrigerator would never lie.
I can see the scenario now: ?Mommy where did you hide the Popsicles? The refrigerator says there are two left?.
Perhaps, the question should be, ?do you really care what is inside your refrigerator?? Personally I would say no. But, I can see situations where it would be advantageous if these refrigerators progress beyond where they are today.
The frig says we need more milk -----
Perhaps you are disabled and cannot access the refrigerator interior. Wouldn?t it be advantageous to know you only have one quart of milk left? You would access this information via a computer screen on the outside of the door that says it?s time to buy more.
What if the same person is able to push a touch pad on the computer screen and get a read out (or a printout) of all the contents? It would certainly make their shopping easier.
Or, what if the refrigerator were hooked into a service that delivers food to the home. If the refrigerator can keep track of the contents, it will also know when you have run out of something. So every week it could total your contents, connects itself to the Internet, and places an order with the grocery store. Later that day the delivery truck arrives with what you require. All you have to do is put it into the refrigerator and pay the bill. No grocery store parking, no lineups, no trying to remember what you did with your grocery list. Ah, the joys of the modern age.
Not there yet ------------------------
Well we?re not there quite yet. The Internet refrigerators we have today can be connected to the web, but only for service. Say it starts making funny noises and you want to know why. Connect it to the telephone outlet, dial a service centre number, and the refrigerator will self-diagnose, offering you suggestions as to the cause of the problem.
So the question we all have to ask ourselves is, ?is it worth the extra cost?. Would an Internet refrigerator be helpful ? or is it only marketing hype. As usual the consumer will make the final decision regarding that query.
Customers I have mentioned this refrigerator to are generally intrigued by the idea ? at first. Then they usually tell me they think the world is already too fast paced. A lot of people work with computers all day and just want to get away from them at home. They already think computers are ruling their office, they don?t want them ruling the kitchen.
To my customers this type of product is only one more thing that would add to their stress level. So unless you have a specific need for an Internet refrigerator I think it is something that the general public is not yet ready to embrace.
About the Author: Copyright 2005 by Donald Grummett. All right reserved. In the trade over 30 years as a technician, business owner, and technical trainer. For more information about appliances including FAQ, Stain guide, and Recycling visit http://www.mgservices.ca