(Krista Strum) How important is it for your refrigerator or toaster to be intelligent? Most think it’s a ridiculous proposition while others welcome that idea, including the world’s leading technology companies. Cisco, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems are placing their bets on smart appliances eventually becoming a hot “must have” and have devoted money toward more R&D in this area.
They aren’t alone as they’ve formed partnerships with the likes of GE, MayTag, Samsung and Whirlpool to develop products that, for example, can log recipe’s, calculate cooking times, keep notes, and also play movies.
Sounds good right? Although product makers think so, consumers haven’t yet warmed up to this idea and aren’t sure smart appliances are necessary. Recent research shows that consumers are not ready for smart devices quite yet however they are open to energy savings appliances…which sort of fits in the smart devices category.
Some analysts argue that consumer demand for smart appliances with energy monitoring and controls capabilities is on the rise. However, smart eco-appliances are not without a hefty price tag. For example CNET’s Martin LaMonica noted, “One of the first network ready hot water heaters costs nearly $1,600 more than a low-end model.”
Hefty price-points like this could leave consumers wondering whether they are really saving that much energy to make up for the difference in cost. In many cases, it all boils down to whether they want to pay upfront for the more expensive yet efficient products or sprinkle the energy consumption costs out over time by purchasing a moderately priced one.