Consumer electronics companies have envisioned the connected home for years. I’ll say up front, I’m not entirely sure I want all my appliances to talk to each other. I’m also not sure I want to be able to start a load of laundry from a smart phone when I’m not at home—should I really be thinking quite so often about laundry?
That said, I perked up when LG announced its new line of connected appliances at a press conference held in advance CES. That’s because LG’s chattering appliances are not going to be jamming up the home WiFi network as they discuss what’s in the refrigerator or the oven, instead they’ll be using near-field communications, or NFC. This communications technology is commonly used for payments in many places outside the U.S. Those of us in the U.S. are not quite so familiar with it, though it is built into some smart phones (but not iPhones...yet). LG envisions smart phones as the ultimate remote control for the smart home.
Other smart house companies are also embracing NFC. Allure Energy introduced a new generation of its home management system, EverSense 2.0, that uses NFC to spot where people (or at least their phones) are in the house, and adjusts thermostats and lighting accordingly.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.