Disconnected Dishes

We've learned real quick due to COVID and supply chain breakdowns that computer chips are in EVERYTHING. It stops cars from being delivered with all their features and delays products from shipping. One place with too many (as in more than zero) chips is appliances. They may be "smart" and have interesting features, but does anyone really want that? Apparently not according to Kevin Purdy at Ars Technica.

Appliance makers like Whirlpool and LG just can't understand. They added Wi-Fi antennae to their latest dishwashers, ovens, and refrigerators and built apps for them—and yet only 50 percent or fewer of their owners have connected them. What gives?

The issue, according to manufacturers quoted in a Wall Street Journal report (subscription usually required), is that customers just don't know all the things a manufacturer can do if users connect the device that spins their clothes or keeps their food cold—things like "providing manufacturers with data and insights about how customers are using their products" and allowing companies to "send over-the-air updates" and "sell relevant replacement parts or subscription services."

“The challenge is that a consumer doesn’t see the true value that manufacturers see in terms of how that data can help them in the long run. So they don’t really care for spending time to just connect it,” Henry Kim, US director of LG's smart device division ThinQ, told the Journal.

Ars Technica

As someone who had a year-old refrigerator break and require two technician visits, I can assure you that not only is a connected appliance not what I want but I would go further and say that nearly all modern appliances are built like crap.

Stoves, fridges, microwaves, etc from the 80s and 90s will last fifteen, twenty, or even more years. You may even have some still in your home. But that new Samsung or Whirlpool stove? I bet you're lucky to get even a decade out of it. USA Today even covered this in 2019.

Over-the-air updates for my dryer? No thanks. Wifi for my stove? Nope! It could be a matter of time before the dreaded subscription model creeps into these things. Turkey mode on Thanksgiving day? That's a subscription. Perfect temperature calibration? Pay up. Yes, I just made these up but you can see that happening. Because if BMW and Toyota can do it, so can Samsung and Maytag.

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