By Vijaya George
It won’t be long before Internet-enabled household appliances reach our homes in the Middle East. LG Electronics has already initiated that move in the UK by rolling out an attention-grabbing campaign at Harrods.
It won’t be long before Internet-enabled household appliances reach our homes in the Middle East. LG Electronics has already initiated that move in the UK by rolling out an attention-grabbing campaign centred around London’s Harrods department store.Internet-enabled washing machines, wall-mounted air conditioners, Microwaves that allow you to downloaded recipes from the Web and anetworked refrigerator that lets people watch TV and check e-mail whilestoring food are all part of the home-networked future that is catching the attention of window shoppers at the Harrods Knightsbridge store."Many of the products are already in the region," stated M B Shin,president, LG Electronics’ Middle East & Africa Operations. "We areleading the way to a totally new home lifestyle. The products are aimedat high-end customers and early adopters of technology," he added.The products are controlled through proprietary power-line communication (PLC) systems, developed by the Korean vendor. Each of these products has self-diagnostic features that alert users to anypotential problems by sending an e-mail while, at the same time, informing LG’s on-line service centre of any errors or faults.A nationwide campaign was run by LG in the UK to find a ‘family’ willing to use the products in view of window shoppers at the store. Although hundreds applied to be part of the family, most got voted out by the public online (www.dreamlg.com) until one man, woman, and two children remained. At Harrods, this LG “Family” interacts with the appliances and completes tasks and challenges, set by the public online. "Despite the luxury, life as the LG Internet Family is no easy ride,"said, M.B. Shin. "Every move they make is followed by potentiallymillions viewing on-line via web-cams in the windows, while thousands of Harrods’ shoppers and passers-by are up close and personal and watching just an arm’s length away through the glass. And then there’s the challenge of living with three people they hardly know in such confined and surreal surroundings. This is a truly interactive event where the public influences some of the family’s daily activities such as selecting what to wear, eat or watch on TV by voting online. The LG Internet Family project is a one-off. No one has done it before and we are looking forward to seeing how it develops.” Although it does not seem like it will be long before the region previews some of these products, one wonders how they can be operated when Internet users are still contending with basic issues such as poor bandwidth and low connectivity.