Everything You Need To Know About "Smart" Refrigerators

Posted: Oct 9 2019, 10:19pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 9 2019, 10:21pm CDT , in Technology News


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Everything You Need To Know About "Smart" Refrigerators

Manufacturers are constantly improving refrigerators, giving them new functions. Today, no one is surprised by a fridge that disinfects its chambers, informs the owner about the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer, and performs other tasks. But all this doesn't make it smart, capable of making decisions on its own.

What makes a fridge "smart"?

According to refrigeratorfaq.com, there are two types of refrigerators that fit into the definition of "smart":

  • ones that support integration into the smart home system and remote control;

  • ones that make important decisions on their own.

The first type is a complex electronic-mechanical device. It can perform various functions but is fully controlled by the "smart home" system. The control is possible via:

  • radio channel;

  • Wi-Fi network or its analogs;

  • GSM networks;

  • wired networks.

The second type of refrigerators also maintains constant communication with the “smart home” controller via the same channels, but it has the algorithms embedded in its memory to make various important decisions. Therefore, such a fridge can perform all its functions even if the “smart home” controller doesn’t work for some reason.

Main functions

Here's a list of the basic functions of smart refrigerators:

  • provides self-diagnostics;

  • notificates the owner on the operating mode;

  • determines the products and their expiry dates;

  • compares the number of products from the memory list and orders the missing ones automatically;

  • selects the power consumption mode;

  • has a recipe book.

Any smart fridge is equipped with a self-diagnostic function. The control unit, following the algorithms embedded in its memory, checks all the systems and units of the refrigerator, determining their status. As a result, any malfunction is detected at the initial stage. If it’s a software failure, the refrigerator automatically fixes it and sends a text to the owner describing the problem. If a problem is caused by external factors or a serious malfunction, the refrigerator sends a text to the phone, tablet, or smartphone, switches an audible alarm on and tries to minimize the consequences. All this allows the owner of a “smart home” to detect a malfunction in time and call a master repair it quickly.

Many refrigerators, even ordinary, not smart models, have cameras that allow the owner to see the food inside. In smart refrigerators, this technology has evolved. The camera image is used by the processor to determine which foods are in storage. Also, it’s possible to determine their expiry date when ordering automatically. In South Korea, a site will soon be launched that supports automatic orders for missing products in smart fridges. These products are based on the preferences of the owners. Therefore, now we have to enter names of the products and their expiry dates manually. When the expiration day is over, or the owner runs out of some products, the information about it appears on the display of the refrigerator and the owner's smartphone.

The function of automatic power selection allows the fridge to determine whether the owners are at home or away for a long time. If the owners are away for a long time, the refrigerator switches the power consumption mode to the minimum. The owners don’t open the doors, warm air doesn’t get inside, so there is no need for strong cooling. When the refrigerator goes into this mode, the owner receives a text about it.

The smart fridge also has a recipe book. It’s very useful for those who can't cook delicious dishes on their own. All recipes are written with the help of a smartphone app, and are shown on the display of the fridge. This allows the owner to not waste time searching for recipes, but to choose the right one from the list, and then start cooking.

Most smart refrigerators are connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi network. This way, the connection between the refrigerator and the "smart home" control system doesn’t depend on the work of the provider. Even if the connection is broken, and the Wi-Fi server cannot access the Internet, the fridge will still be connected to the control system and will be able to fully perform all its functions.

The cost of smart fridges

The leader in the manufacturing of smart refrigerators is Samsung. It has a smart fridge T-9000, which has become the standard of this type of appliances. Its cost varies from 4 to 8 thousand dollars depending on its modification and location. Less “smart” models with Wi-Fi support and several additional functions cost from 2 to 4 thousand dollars.

Usually, smart refrigerators are delivered on an advance payment basis, but sometimes you can find them in stores. If you want your smart fridge to fully perform all its functions, you need to purchase additional equipment such as special containers for storing food. The market leader here is Tupperware. Its containers for smart fridges allow you to regulate the ventilation of the food inside depending on the type of food and its expiry date.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml[@]i4u.com.




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