Smart refrigerators from LG and Samsung demonstrated burgeoning trends at CES 2016.
At CES this year, two of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies are touting smart refrigerators, suggesting a renewed focus on Internet of Things devices for the kitchen.
LG announced a new refrigerator, part of its Signature line of products, with a door that opens when users place their feet near a sensor. LG says the device can prevent unintended openings by telling the difference between a human foot and a dog or a baby, making this one of many devices this year to incorporate intelligent image recognition.
Users can also knock on the translucent door of the refrigerator to reveal its contents via an interior light, potentially saving energy and effort. “This feature allows a hungry parent, a curious child, to easily check what’s inside without actually opening the door,” explained David Vanderwall, LG’s vice president of marketing.
Samsung also announced its new Family Hub refrigerator, which features a large touchscreen embedded in the door. The product is integrated with a new service called Groceries by MasterCard, which allows users to shop for food and beverage items directly from their refrigerators. Initially integrating with Fresh Direct and ShopRite, the service will expand to other merchants in 2016.
As more devices become portals for retail, MasterCard believes the new service is aligned with evolving consumer expectations. “In a world where every device – from the phone to the refrigerator – is connected to the Internet, the ways in which consumers interact and transact with their favorite brands are changing,” said Betty DeVita, chief commercial officer at MasterCard Labs. “We continue to eliminate the boundaries between how we shop and how we pay.”
Like the Prizm audio player, the Family Hub adapts its suggestions as it gathers more information about users. While we’re used to hearing about personalized recommendations in music and streaming video, this device suggests that these recommendations will become more common throughout all aspects of our lives.