No Longer a Connected Home for Me!

It is back to basics! Even now the market is not ready for a smart home!

In 2004, I took the opportunity to make my home a fully connected one, comprising products from largely LG Electronics.

internet-fridgeThey included:

  • An LG multi-functional refrigerator that had a television, a computer, a video and audio recorder and more — all connected to the Net. It also had the facility for us to leave digital notes.
  • An LG Internet air-conditioner that I could turn on before reaching home
  • A Web-enabled LG microwave oven that could be used to download recipes from the Internet for cooking. It made cooking tapping a recipe online feasible.
  • An Internet LG washing machine
  • A password-controlled electronic lock

They were first-of-their-kind products globally with LG pioneering it in Singapore with support from the IDA. Remember it was back in 2004!

My home was completely wired using powerline communications and we could monitor it from anywhere via the Internet – helpful when we were out of the country.

LG Service Centre on Alexandra Road, Singapore

LG Service Centre on Alexandra Road, Singapore

In short, it was a fully connected home way ahead of its times! It was all about multiple Internet-enabled objects and devices talking to one another and fostering convenience for the user. A connected home is made possible by machine-to-machine communications.

Some pics from around the LG Service Centre

Some pics from around the LG Service Centre

None of the above futuristic LG products is currently available. LG was the first to hit the market with it 11 years ago, which was when I embraced the concept.

Today’s IoT Buzz: This should remind us of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the expected digital wave that is currently being talked about by the technology industry.

There was no big market for it then, given the prohibitive costs. Even now a smart home is not something that finds ready acceptance. It is generating some interest but it will be a while before it makes business sense.

End of Life, End of Support: So, the concept did not take off. Slowly, the products were taken off the LG portfolio and they went end of support with no spare parts if we needed one.

One by one, the products we had at home went non-functional after they had served their utility well.
IMG_2449Last week, the last of the products, the refrigerator, that we and those who visited us loved reached end of life. The compressor was spoilt and LG confirmed a replacement was no longer available.

We had to, therefore, discard it and go for a replacement.

LG 762We chose LG again, given that we had a positive experience with its products and support. This time we did not go for their top-of-the-range fridge. Lessons, lessons!

Best Denki: We chose an old-fashioned but tall and spacious two-door fridge that cost us $1,500. We bought it at Best Denki and we were told we could pick a freezer tray from the LG headquarters. The salesman told us it was guaranteed and had it listed in the invoice.

Today, I visited the LG centre to pick that up. But there I was told that the freezer tray stocks were exhausted. The agent there told me that since it was only meant to be a gift LG is not obliged to give us one.

IMG_2425Disconnect Between LG and Best Denki?: He explained that they had run out of it two weeks ago — which was a week before I purchased the refrigerator. So, why was I told that I could collect it from the LG centre? Did LG not inform Best Denki about the lack of availability?

A disconnect between the manufacturer and the retailer? Or is it just poor service?

The LG guy told me if I had called the LG call centre to check they would have given me the real picture. Interesting that customers have to do all kinds of investigations before they decide to pay up!

LG Misinformation: But we did call the LG centre yesterday and were told that the tray was available. It is clear LG was not being honest. He did not seem embarrassed when this information was relayed to him.

IMG_2430Whatever, it is just a tray and should be no big deal! Business ethics, however, will warrant accountability for what they promise and not a cavalier attitude!

In any case, my home is no longer a connected one and it is back to basics!! I embraced the idea of a smart home 11 years ago.

It is only during the last year or so that the Information Technology sector has been abuzz with talk of the IoT and its equivalent terminology, the Internet of Everything (IoE), as Cisco Systems calls it.

That aside, the Connected Home is a concept that still remains one with the potential to become the “next big technology revolution.”

G Joslin Vethakumar

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