One of the themes of CES 2014 and the industry in general is The Internet of Things. Things that can be controlled via the Internet using mobile devices and sensors. We all want these things, or so we’re told. The idea is to be able to control appliances and other things remotely or have them communicate us without lifting a finger, unless it is to adjust a setting for these things on our mobile device.
Appliance manufacturer, Haier, is announcing that it is the first certified maker to earn the MFi distinction from Apple. MFi is the Apple approved label that has morphed and changed a bit of the years from Made for iPod, to Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad to simply Made for i. Manufacturers license the label from Apple for a cut of the proceeds on the sale of whatever the device or accessory is. Haier has come up with its first MFi appliance and it is an air conditioner.
Yep, an air conditioner. Haier’s Tianzun air conditioner is the first air conditioner or major appliance to get the label, but Haier will be using this technology in other Haier products, such as water heaters, ovens, intelligent home accessories and the like.
With a WiFi network, users will be able to setup a device simply by connecting. In the case of the Tianzun air conditioner, the user can set up parameters for the air conditioner directly without registration, setup password or other complicated and time-consuming operations. According to Haier, this removes some of the complications of past “smart appliances.”
Haier may be the first with Apple’s MFi certification for its products, but smart appliances, large and small, have been around for awhile and there are certainly other solutions like Belkin’s WeMo home automation products (including a new Crock Pot) and NEST thermostats and smoke alarms. The days of having the coffee pot automatically brew up a pot of Joe to greet you in the morning are being joined by more automation in the home. If the Internet of Things is going to become more than a theme, my hunch is the home will be the place.