Smart Refrigerators – The New Family Hub

If you give it some thought, in American homes the kitchen is the central point of activity for most families. It is where you make meals together, leave notes for family members, entertain family and guests and start your day with a cup of coffee. The advent of the new smart fridge that is now available to consumers is providing families amenities that they never would have expected from their refrigerator! By definition, a smart fridge is is a refrigerator which has been programmed to sense what kinds of products are being stored inside it and keep a track of the stock through bar-code or RFID scanning.  Just in the last year alone, smart refrigerators have improved their capabilities well beyond this feature. The first smart fridge models provided flexibility and functionality. Now, the newest smart   can help consumers better manage as well as enjoy their lives.

The top 3 smart refrigerators on the market are The Samsung Family Hub Smart Refrigerator, the LG Smartthinq Refrigerator and the GE Cafe Series Smart Fridge. The Samsung “Family Hub” refrigerator promises to be everything from an entertainment center to a social hub. The Samsung smart fridge comes with a massive 21.5 screen that allows you to do everything from watch your favorite TV show on the refrigerator door to pulling up recipes. The smart features on this model make it the most advanced smart fridge on the market. Consumers can download up to 15 smart apps for  recipes, downloading music, leaving a notes for family members, downloading, pictures and even an app to order groceries! The i phone compatible Samsung “Family Hub” Refrigerator is priced at $6000. The LG Smartthinq Refrigerator ($3799.99)  comes with a free smartthinq app so you can add items to your grocery list from the lcd screen on the fridge to your phone and includes an app that will track the amount of water that every family member drinks throughout the day. Other features include, an ice maker is built right into the door and smart cooling technology along with an array of apps for photos and recipes. The GE Cafe Series Smart Fridge ($2659) is one model that does not have the LCD door screen. However, this model has a feature that no other smart fridge can make you a cup of coffee!! This model has a Keurig coffee maker that comes in the form of an adapter that you snap onto the hot water dispenser of the fridge. This smart fridge has electronically controlled drawers with preset temperatures for meat, deli, beverages etc and It has an advanced patented filtration system that removes lead and other containments from the water supply. Being a GE smart appliance, this fridge is capable of integrating with IFTTT (If This Then That) connecting with multiple smart devices.

Though there are many advantages to smart refrigerators, they also have some possible shortcomings. One of the biggest drawbacks is that most foods are not currently labeled with RFID tags, meaning that an accurate inventory depends on the user manually inputting a lot of items into processing unit. Also, the unit may not be able to exactly tell how much of a product is left and when it may run out. Another concern is software on the smart fridges: consumers may stop getting updates and the software will become become unreliable and in some cases leave the appliance vulnerable to malware. This could happen very easily–when you use an outdated web browser app on the fridge and visit a compromised or malicious website, it could infect your fridge. In spite of these concerns, all of the makers of the new  smart fridges will continue to build upon and improve this new technology. A hit at this year’s at this year’s CES 2017, smart fridge technology is about to heat up!!

*Contribution by Sonja Mckenzie.