LG has partnered with the free Line messaging app to create a service dubbed HomeChat. HomeChat relies on Natural Language Processing (NLP) to let you send texts to your compatible LG appliances. It works on Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia Asha, and Windows Phone devices as well as OS X and Windows computers.
This is an interesting update, since one major complaint we have about LG’s Smart ThinQ line is that the range , the fridge , and the washer / dryer all use different apps. That makes for a fairly chaotic connected experience. Why separate everything when some other brands let you monitor more than one appliance in a single app?
Whirpool figured it out. Its My Smart Appliances app lets you manage your dishwasher, refrigerator, washer, and dryer in one place. LG’s HomeChat seems like it will consolidate the user experience a bit, which is good news, but that isn’t what has us excited.
The standout feature here is that HomeChat is SMS-based. That means that you should be able to “chat” with your LG appliances using natural-language commands. For instance, if you send the text message, “I’m going on vacation,” the following should automatically happen: your fridge will go to power-save mode, your robot vac will default to a 9 a.m. daily cleaning cycle, and your washer will autoprogram to run a wash cycle the day before you get home. Pretty neat.
You can also communicate with a single appliance, as needed. Ask your Hom-Bot Square, “When did you last clean?” and it should tell you how long it’s been since you last ran the vacuum. Ask your oven for recipe suggestions and it should help you brainstorm for tonight’s dinner. Supposedly, you can receive alerts, start a laundry cycle, or track the washer’s status via HomeChat, too.
We’re excited to see HomeChat up close at CES and test these claims. It’s definitely something new for the large-appliance mainstream, but I do wonder how well it will integrate with the existing LG Smart apps. Will it be a confusing mess or a welcome addition? We’ll see soon enough.