Smart appliance buyers aren't keeping their devices connected to the Internet

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,564   +174
Staff member
In brief: Smart appliances such as Alexa-equipped microwaves and ovens that can livestream their contents have been finding their way into kitchens for years but not everyone is taking full advantage of their connected features.

A spokesperson for LG Electronics told The Wall Street Journal that fewer than half of the smart appliances it has sold stay connected to the Internet long-term. A Whirlpool rep said more than half of their connected appliances are online but declined to be more specific.

Smart appliances with fancy bells and whistles can help hook buyers at the time of purchase, but it goes deeper than that. Internet-connected devices can (and usually do) relay data and other insights about usage directly to the manufacturer, helping them better understand how owners are using their products.

This direct relationship can also assist with the sale of replacement parts or subscription services. For example, owners of Whirlpool's smart oven can sync it to the company's Yummly Pro recipe subscription service for improved integration.

Building long-term relationships with owners is more important now than ever given slowing sales, an uncertain economy and rising materials and energy costs.

A variety of reasons likely contribute to why buyers are not taking full advantage of connected appliances.

Some devices might get connected to Wi-Fi during initial setup but a password or router change down the road could result in a disconnection. Others might get installed in an area with weak or no Wi-Fi coverage. Some buyers simply might not have any use for the features a connected appliance can afford.

Privacy advocates have their own reasons for not connecting appliances to the Internet and purists likely do not want to worry with the possibility of a failed over-the-air update bricking their washing machine or refrigerator.

Despite their low utilization, connected features on appliances are probably here to stay. LG's US director of ThinQ, Henry Kim, said smart home features are now found on 80 percent to 90 percent of all appliances they sell, save for entry-level budget models.

Permalink to story.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,396   +7,812
I have no doubt that people are not buying smart appliances just to connect them to the internet. I would bet that they are buying them for other reasons. IMO, no one needs to have an appliance connected to the internet. Its not like appliances are going to watch Netflix. IMO, the ability to connect an appliance to the internet is yet another useless feature appliance manufacturer marketing departments foist on potential customers just to make a sale. I certainly don't need - and more so, do not want - any appliance I buy to connect to the internet. Useless crap that inflates the price probably way beyond what it costs the appliance manufacturers to equip the appliance with the connection.
 
Last edited:

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,714   +2,681
I have zero use for the app that works with my Air Fryer, but if I remove it from my wifi network, the wifi light on it flashes constantly and it annoys me, so I leave it connected. If companies at least kept things updated with useful features or something, I'd probably be okay with that, but the profit is primarily in the hardware and the compromise is bundling apps with everything.

I'm not a fan of everything being connected to the internet. I just wanted to take advantage of a sale on a good Cosori air fryer.
 
Last edited:

yRaz

Posts: 4,951   +6,391
I will physically remove the antennas of any bluetooth or wifi enabled smart appliance. I do have wifi in my house but I have it completely isolated from the rest of my network.

I like to cook, I've enjoyed cooking for almost 20 years now. A smart oven has nothing to offer me. I've been using a refrigerator for my entire life, a smart fridge has nothing to offer me. I don't need an app for my coffee pot. The whole idea of a smart home is stupid beyond my comprehension and I often by dumb tech just because I think it might cool or the gimmick entertains me. Smart appliances do neither

There is a youtube channel I watch called AVE where he made fun of a bluetooth enabled drill. Highly recommend a watch of this video
 
Last edited:

GoldenGoat

Posts: 115   +180
I've bought several appliances that later disabled features unless you buy a subscription to keep them going. When I bought them, there was no subscription. It was added later. For this reason, I'm trying to avoid appliances that rely on apps and internet. It makes me feel like the manufacturer is the true owner of the appliance and I am just a renter.
 

SiJiL

Posts: 11   +9
Probably because the wifi connection in the device, and the apps for connecting and managing the devices are just terrible.
I've got an LG smart washing machine, and I'd love for it to stay connected to my wifi - it's in a part of the house where I can't hear when it's finished, so having the alert on my phone is great.
But despite excellent signal strength, it stayed connected for about a week then completely dropped off. Tried using the app to get it reconnected, and it just won't. Sits and does nothing, just spinning away trying to do the most basic task and failing. So I gave up and just don't use it.
Our previous Samsung washer was the same, so not just LG that's terrible.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,165   +4,234
TechSpot Elite
I have zero use for the app that works with my Air Fryer, but if I remove it from my wifi network, the wifi light on it flashes constantly and it annoys me, so I leave it connected. If companies at least kept things updated with useful features or something, I'd probably be okay with that, but the profit is primarily in the hardware and the compromise is bundling apps with everything.

I'm not a fan of everything being connected to the internet. I just wanted to take advantage of a sale on a good Cosori air fryer.
Heh, I would just tape/blackout the light if I had that problem. Easier for the longterm...
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,165   +4,234
TechSpot Elite
There might be a few things that I'd want connectivity (a smoker?), but most of the stuff I see that get "smart" don't need it. I can appreciate a recipe app, but I probably won't use it.

And then adding those electronics to the devices just makes them more expensive, easier to break, and harder to repair. No thank you.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,951   +6,391
There might be a few things that I'd want connectivity (a smoker?), but most of the stuff I see that get "smart" don't need it. I can appreciate a recipe app, but I probably won't use it.

And then adding those electronics to the devices just makes them more expensive, easier to break, and harder to repair. No thank you.
I had an air fryer that had a sensor that told it that it was closed, it was serialized and linked to the device. That switch broke. I was going to just short it so it was in the "always closed" position but it had a chip and several connections going to the mainboard. What's even worse is that I think it is an 'engineered to fail' type thing because the sensor was next to the heating element. The wires, sensor and board it were on were burnt and melted.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,386   +1,028
The assumption is we want convenience , super ease of use etc etc - and yes we do in some appliances .

But does that explain vinyl records , Japanese tea ceremony , or the Ethiopian Coffee ceremony etc.

There is reason people in the UK say let's sit down and have a cuppa - when facing situation in which could lead to panic

I like seasoning my iron skillet or wok - some sharpening their kitchen knives .
I baked some bread yesterday in my breadmaker - but lots of people just love the tactile process of kneading the dough, shaping etc

I use the washing machine 98% of times for clothes - but in all my years of backpacking the world I actually liked hand washing on scrub boards in 3rd world countries - it was a homely , grounding routine - that the local people did as well.

Tl/dr - choice wisely - items for convenience vs items /processes that bring simple pleasures

WALL-E!!!
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,927   +6,918
Probably because half the features dont work, the connections are crap, the software is abysmal, and it will be abandoned in two years.

We dont need screens and sensors on our fridges and ovens.

My apartment tier appliances are still going strong two decades later, if I needed to buy new ones I'd do the same, seeing as they are cheaper and last forever.
I've bought several appliances that later disabled features unless you buy a subscription to keep them going. When I bought them, there was no subscription. It was added later. For this reason, I'm trying to avoid appliances that rely on apps and internet. It makes me feel like the manufacturer is the true owner of the appliance and I am just a renter.
you will own nothing, and you will be happy.

If I ever buy an appliance that requires the internet it is going straight back.
 

Mariabliss

Posts: 12   +10
WiFi connections can be pretty dodgy as well as the smart home appliances. As well as a password change, getting a new router, and so on.

For instance, my air conditioner has a WiFi connection but for the life of me I can't get it to connect. I do want to, though, because I recently lost the remote and that cost $60 AUD to replace. If I'd had it connected, then on my phone I could've just controlled it with the app.

I think it depends heavily on the appliance and offered features as to whether or it's useful.

For example, being able to have the oven preheat as you're driving home from work? To me, that's useful. I can go to the shops, then when I'm 10 minutes or so away, have it turn on. Probably using some automation or voice control. Then all I need to do is put the roast chicken or whatever into the oven immediately.

Or set my kettle to boil for a cup of tea/coffee. Turn on the coffee maker at a scheduled time in the morning with a brew waiting. Or tell it to make one.

Just a few example usages.

Also even if it's not immediately useful for the consumer, the data is likely useful for the company and thus the consumer at a latter date.

Let's say they have your usage habits of a washing machine. They can develop and improve their products for the future - - which everyone including you benefits from when you go to buy a new washing machine in 5 years or however long.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,396   +7,812
If the connection could and would diagnose a problem and send me the part without a service call as well as the REPAIR manual would consider it. I don't need a hacky recipe service for golden brown tater tot casserole.
And everyone can obviously look up that hacky recipe for golden brown tater tot casserole on their computer or smart phone anyway. ;)