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The Smart and Not-So-Smart Appliances at CEDIA

Samsung's hum-drum WiFi-enabled refrigerator/freezer eliminates magnets, while Sub-Zero shows full integration with Control4 home automation plus a new kosher mode.

Despite its "Intelligent Dispenser," Samsung WiFi-enabled RF4289 refrigerator/freezer isn't so smart. CE Pros can learn more about the opportunities in smart appliances at CEProLive! Oct. 27, 2011.
Julie Jacobson · September 27, 2011

Smart appliances may hold a lot of promise for the home of the future, but you wouldn’t know it by CEDIA Expo 2011.

Two companies showed white goods at the Expo: Samsung and Wolf/Sub-Zero (in the Control4 booth). One was really smart, one not-so-smart.

Let’s start with the latter. Samsung’s RF4289 “smart refrigerator” had a very pretty touchscreen with built-in WiFi and speakers hidden in the ice dispensers, but that was about it.

There were no energy-management features or integration to speak of. Instead, the $3500 unit is “more a tool for organization,” according to a Samsung representative. “It helps de-clutter the kitchen.”

RELATED: Smart appliances top agenda at major CE event

In that regard, we suppose, the unit can be an environment saver. It helps eliminate paper that would otherwise be wasted on recipes, memos, shopping lists and family photos.

Owners can stream music via the touchscreen, thanks to the aforementioned speakers. They can also play slide shows, search recipes on, and Tweet their friends about those recipes.

Still, it’s a good start with WiFi, built-in speakers, a touchscreen with generous real estate, and some tie-ins with the appliance for ice dispensing, temperature management and more.

Despite its “Intelligent Dispenser,” Samsung WiFi-enabled fridge/freezer isn’t so smart.
Check out speakers beneath the dispenser, though. Talk about stealthy!

A Smarter Kitchen Appliance

The really smart appliances at CEDIA were over in the Control4 booth, where Sub-Zero demonstrated the ZigBee-enabled white goods introduced earlier this year at CES. The upgrade modules for existing Sub-Zero appliances are in “full production,” says project engineer Steve Nackers.

Opportunities for CE Pros in Smart Appliances
How to integrated kitchen and other major appliances with whole-house control systems and the smart grid. Learn more at CEProLive! Oct. 27, 2011.

At CEDIA, he demonstrated a slick interface for Control4 home automation systems, which gives full status reports of ovens, refrigerators and other kitchen appliances—something that was not ready for prime time at CES in January.

In his demo, Nackers received a text message when the wine door was opened (look out kids), as well as a notification that service was required.

As promised at CES, Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezers can now be integrated with Control4 scenes such as PARTY and VACATION.

During a party, ice-cube production kicks into high gear. When a family is on vacation, the units go into energy-saving mode.

RELATED: Sub-Zero May Have First Viable Plan for Smart Appliances

The system now offers a SABBATH mode. When activated – manually or on a schedule – the fridge/freezer does not respond directly to user actions, per the standards of the kosher authorities at Star-K.

Lights are not activated when a door is opened; compressors, defrosters and fans do not automatically kick in after a door is opened. These activities instead happen at random.

To be sure, many other appliances offer SABBATH modes, but typically, the user must press a button to activate the mode—which is forbidden after sunset Friday under kosher law.

“The big thing is if you forget to press the button,” says Nackers, “you can’t use the appliances. Control4 can put it on a schedule”



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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at

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  Article Topics

News · CEDIA Expo · Control4 · Major Appliances · Samsung · All Topics
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