February 27th, 2014
My first instinct upon reading about BERG's Cloudwash prototype was to scoff at the idea of an internet-connected washing machine.
Cloudwash is a prototype washing machine. We created Cloudwash to explore how connectivity will change the appliances in our homes… and to figure out what new features will be possible.
I'm still not persuaded that the ability to schedule and reschedule washing jobs remotely is going to be on the feature list when next I'm looking to buy a washing machine. However, I'll concede that more localised uses of connectivity – like the ability to receive an alert via the net when a cycle is about to end and I'm going to need to go and unload the machine – would be worth having.1
I did like BERG's approach of putting as much of the intelligence as possible in the app you run on your connected device, where it's easy to update and enhance the functionality on offer without finding that your washing machine only has ROM version 1.3.234 and you need version 1.4.112 or better to allow you to store more than 3 favourite job configurations. It's perfectly logical, but you can bet that as manufacturers start doing internet-enabled production models we'll see all sorts of flashy touchscreen interfaces using a custom OS (which will probably be a heavily-customised Android or Linux variant under the skin) that will be scrapped or revised within six months.2
- That last feature should really have occurred to me: I use Prowl to have my Mac send me Growl notifications about all sorts of things. ↩
- See, for an example of this sort of thinking, Samsung's decision to ditch the Android OS they used in the first generation of Galaxy Gear smartwatches within six months of their launch in favour of their own OS. ↩