Smart appliances are already here to some degree. However, volumes remain low as consumers contend with weighing up the value that they bring to their lifestyles and environments against value for money and privacy. Similarly, product manufacturers are supporting their design and engineering teams to balance these consumer concerns with innovative new features enabled by continuous technology advancements in the fields of AI, machine learning and connectivity. It is the latter of these - otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT) denoting a network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors and software that enable the collection and sharing of data with other devices and systems over the internet.
In terms of design and engineering, the goal is, ironically, to work smarter with these emerging technologies and embed them within smarter manufacturing and production environments that are themselves benefitting from greater connectivity to produce aesthetically pleasing and highly functional products in a way that adds value to the consumer.
The key drivers for adding such value for consumers and thus increasing the appeal of smart appliances in the future to further increase growth include comfort, convenience, security and sustainability. For design teams there has to be a cohesive approach to developing smart appliances that intelligently combines the physical components (including the aesthetics of the outer casings as well the product's mechanical and electrical parts) with the smart components (software, sensors, data collection / storage) together with the connectivity components.