Most household appliances serve basic purposes: Your refrigerator keeps food cold and your washing machine cleans your clothes. But what if your appliances could do things that you didn't even know that you wanted them to do? This question is what initially spurred and continues to drive innovation in smart home technology, a booming global market that is projected to reach $103 billion in annual revenue by the end of the year.
One of the leaders in this sector is LG. We visited the company's headquarters and showroom in Seoul's Gangnam neighborhood, an experience that gave us a behind-the-scenes look at some of the mind-blowing features embedded in the super-premium Signature collection. In short, we saw the future—a future where you can search a recipe on your refrigerator and turn on the dryer from the comfort of your bed—and it is beautiful.
But first, a look at the past. LG Corporation is nothing new. The company started in 1947 as Lak Hui (pronounced "Lucky") Chemical Industrial Corp. In 1952, it was the first Korean company to enter the plastics industry. As the business expanded, the company established a separate division called Gold Star Co. Ltd., (a branch which was to become the LG Electronics division) eventually merging the two to form a corporation called Lucky Goldstar in 1983. In 1995, the company rebranded as LG, adopting the moniker "Life’s Good" to match their initials and their brand spirit.
Fast forward to 2016, when LG launched the Signature collection. Complete with high-end materials and luxe finishes, the line was designed to be a stylish and smart alternative to big-box appliances, and to redefine what appliances can do. LG's designers describe the minimalist aesthetic as being, "distilled down to just the essence." LG Research & Development Lab's Wook Jun Chung explains, "As a designer, there is joy in being able to erase all these things and only keep the essential design elements." But beyond its sleek minimal design and overall beauty, what helps makes the Signature line so special is LG's SmartThinQ® technology, a voice-controlled AI function that syncs with an app and enables the appliances to do some pretty unexpected things. Here, we share some of our favorite features.
1. You can see what's in your fridge without even opening the door
Sure, you can open your refrigerator door and see what is inside, but that allows all the cold air escape, making the appliance work harder to stay cold and wasting energy. LG Signature has solved that design problem with a surprising solution: When you knock twice on the door of LG Signature’s InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerator, a glass panel turns from opaque to transparent, allowing you to look inside your fridge to examine the contents while the doors remain closed. The unit also features LG Signature’s exclusive Auto Open Door™ technology, which allows you to open the fridge handsfree via a foot-detecting motion sensor on the bottom of the refrigerator door.
And the company has more high-tech features up their sleeve: A new model, InstaView ThinQ, recently showcased at IFA 2019 and is set to launch worldwide soon. This version features a 29" HD transparent LCD touch-screen on the door. Essentially a touchpad computer screen, it connects to the internet and can be used to electronically display messages (think "Pack a lunch"), set food expiration dates that can be referenced remotely, and even display photos. It is even possible to research recipes right there on your fridge while you are cooking. Another excellent feature is the handy camera inside which can be remotely accessed to show you what you have at home while you are out grocery shopping.
2. You can chill your wine at custom temperatures
Oenophiles take note: LG Signature’s Wine Cellar is set to launch in 2020 and it is definitely something to look forward to. With a beautiful textured steel finish, the Wine Cellar features multiple shelves and a capacity of up to 65 bottles. It is also equipped with "multi-temperature technology", which allows each shelf to be set to a custom temperature depending on what wine you have in stock. For added convenience, in addition to its Wi-Fi connection and voice activation features, the bottom drawer is motion activated and the top drawer slides out and lifts with the press of a button.
3. All of your dishes have never been this clean
The LG Signature QuadWash Dishwasher is the newest dishwasher in the LG Signature series to hit the market and also one of the most functional. With a beautifully designed textured steel finish, the model features LG’s award-winning QuadWash feature that means multi-motion spray-arms clean every single nook and cranny, no matter what you’re washing. Most impressive, however, is the dual-zone wash, which allows water to spray with two different intensities at the same time so that it can gently wash wine glasses in your upper rack, while power washing your pots and pans on the bottom.
4. You can preheat your oven remotely
With a stylish stainless steel body and a scratch-resistant, textured finish, the Dual-Fuel Double Oven Range was awarded with a coveted Red Dot Design Award for its exemplary design and innovation. The smart double oven features a gas cooktop and an electric oven with LG's ProBake Convection® technology, which has taken the heating element from the bottom of the oven and moved it to the back wall for optimal heat distribution. It is also equipped with LG's SmartThinQ® technology so you can start preheating your oven remotely before you are ready to use it.
5. You can do two loads of laundry at the same time—and manage them remotely
Perhaps one of the most elegant washer/dryers on the market right now, LG Signature’s Smart WiFi-enabled Washer/ Dryer Combo is almost too beautiful to tuck away in your laundry room, and it certainly embodies the collection’s minimalist aesthetic to a T. But more than just a pretty face, the unit also delivers cutting edge technology and functionality. In addition to the main washer, there is the LG Signature Sidekick Pedestal Washer, a smaller unit that serves as a pedestal base and is specially designed for smaller loads and items that require extra care. The Sidekick also allows you to do two loads at the same time—an ingenious time-saving feature. It also has an Auto Dosing System that detects each load’s soil level and automatically dispenses the correct amount of detergent needed to effectively clean your clothes. Another lovely feature is the circular LCD display, which lets you easily control both units at the same time. This display can also track your usage patterns and display your frequently used cycles. And if you can't start the wash in person, LG’s SmartThinQ® technology lets control your laundry remotely. Google Home and Amazon Echo voice activation are also possible.
6. You can own your very own dry cleaner
The LG Styler gets the award for the appliance that you didn’t know you needed. Dry cleaning costs add up and requires shuffling around your day to drop off or pick up items. But the Styler is like your very own personal dry cleaners in your laundry room or your closet, since it doesn't need a water hook up. We liked the version with the mirror on the front door, which would be a perfect addition to any walk-in closet. The Styler is designed to steam your clothing clean and get rid of the creases. The steaming removes bacteria and allergens without the use of harsh chemicals or soap in only takes 20 minutes—perfect for quickly taking care of your delicates or sanitizing your child’s favorite toy. It has even been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It is also enabled with LG’s Smart ThinQ technology so you can control it remotely from the app and it is compatible with Alexa and Google assistant.
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