I love Berg’s demo of their Cloudwash smart washing machine concept. The company created the prototype to demonstrate how a smart networked appliance might be better designed. The video provides an excellent walkthrough of their design process.
They simplify the face, which consisted of many controls for dedicated functions, reducing that to “high value functions” only. More functionality is accessible via a smart phone app, which also integrates the device with services such as warranty and supplies management and purchasing.
I haven’t been very interested in the current offerings of smart appliances, particularly networked refrigerators and stoves, but the value of design in this concept is communicated so well that it is compelling. The future of networked appliances is also getting interesting with Google’s acquisition of Nest, for example. The greatest concern I might have for core appliances is trust in the security and reliability of these products. Maybe I just watch too much sci-fi.