In short: smart household appliances, such as microwaves and ovens with Alexa, which can broadcast their contents in real time, have been used in kitchens for many years, but not everyone fully uses their connected functions.
A representative of LG Electronics told The Wall Street Journal that less than half of the smart devices sold remain connected to the Internet for a long time. A Whirlpool spokesperson said that more than half of their connected devices are connected to the network, but declined to elaborate on the details.
Smart household appliances with fancy bells and whistles can help to hook customers during the purchase, but it’s not just that. Devices connected to the Internet can (and usually do) transmit data and other usage information directly to the manufacturer, helping him to better understand how owners use their products.
This direct relationship can also help with the sale of spare parts or subscription services. For example, owners of the Whirlpool smart oven can synchronize it with the company’s Yummly Pro recipe subscription service to improve integration.
Building long-term relationships with owners is now more important than ever, given the slowdown in sales, the instability of the economy and the rising cost of materials and energy.
Various reasons probably contribute to the fact that buyers do not take full advantage of connected devices.
Some devices may connect to Wi-Fi during the initial setup, but changing the password or router may cause disconnection. Others can be installed in an area with or without weak Wi-Fi coverage. Some buyers may simply not use the features that a connected device can afford.
Privacy advocates have their own reasons for not connecting appliances to the internet, and purists probably don’t want to worry about the possibility of an unsuccessful over-the-air update ruining their washing machine or refrigerator.
Despite the low level of usage, the connected functions of household appliances are probably not going anywhere. The director of LG ThinQ in the USA, Henry Kim, said that smart home functions can now be found in 80-90% of all devices they sell, with the exception of entry-level budget models.