Talking Refrigerators – New Wave of Internet of Things

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Samsung’s Talking Refrigerator advertisement sent waves across the industry marking the onset of the era of what the common man has been waiting for – a connected worlds, an easier world, a world that truly marks the Internet of Things.

As we head towards a technology-driven lifestyle with the evolution of the Internet of Things, gadgets around us require a more human-like interaction interface to engage with, understand and respond to our requirements. Recently, a co-blogger showcased how easy it is nowadays to smarten up your home. It sure goes to show that we are interested in a more personalized, holistic and humanized connected living experience.

A smart refrigerator that tells you what's inside. Source: http://bit.ly/1E5Xudn

A smart refrigerator that tells you what’s inside.
Source: http://bit.ly/1E5Xudn

A network of intelligent systems and interfaces that leverage voice recognition, natural language understanding, perceptive listening, contextual dialogue and the power of the cloud to communicate both with us and with each other can make life all the more interesting and convenient. And nothing can get better than a refrigerator that can tell you what’s the best food that can come your way after a tiring day at work.

Voice recognition technology continues to be integrated in some of our most popular devices, from smartphones and high-end cars, to tablets and Smart TVs.  And, as these devices become more advanced and user friendly, voice recognition will emerge as a key tool for accessibility, interaction and convenience for all devices intended to be a part of the Internet of Things.  However, it’s the refrigerator that pops up that energizer that we call food and directs the oven to do what’s needed even before we think of it! Well, if my refrigerator talks to me to understand what I need for a drink and slides forward a bottle of fruit squash at the temperature that seems perfect to me, I would love to own such a talking assistant-cum-food manager.

Mundane home appliances can get smarter to pamper you well. There may come a day very soon when you can command your refrigerator – “Remind me at 7 pm that I need to cook the chicken just the same way that I cooked it for Joe’s birthday”.  The refrigerator will remind you, push forward the ingredients you require from inside it and display the recipe on the LED screen. Why, it may even offer to communicate to the oven to begin pre-heating for the cooking. And if you are a health conscious person, your refrigerator can even suggest healthy diets and alternative foods.

Talking Refrigerators Shielded with Patent Power

LG Electronics and Samsung have already showcased talking refrigerators. LG has patented (US 8823523 B2) a voice controlled refrigerator that not only talks, but also understands voice commands and interacts with the user.

Big Five to battle it out for Voice Control

A recent survey found that 83% of consumers said they prefer the option of a conversational dialogue with their personal assistant on their mobile device.  Cisco, meanwhile, predicts that 50 billion “things” will be connected by 2020. Forrester says voice control will be the next battleground for technology’s Big Five: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

Voice recognition is emerging as the “Interface of Things” to present users with a more intuitive and human-like experience. Voice enabled automobiles, smartphones, home automation, and even medical and healthcare applications have been widely researched and developed. Smart digital assistants would soon be befriended with almost all big and small devices around us to empower and govern devices to make our lives better.

And while all of this waits for its turn to enter the homes of the common man, I am all set to welcome the talking refrigerator into my home. How I would love to have someone to talk to while I dish up a meal!

(Featured image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LG_Smart_Refrigerator_at_CES_2011.jpg)

Aditi Das
Aditi Das

Aditi Das is a compulsive sci-fi dreamer who conjures up aliens from vehicles stuck in a traffic snarl. When she isn’t driving teams, inspiring them to shred technologies to pieces and unearth their DNA, she’s busy dishing up Bengali food and blogging.


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