The outstanding success of the Amazon Echo device is starting to attract competition, LG announced that the company will unveil its newest addition to its IoT ecosystem, the LG Smart ThinQ Hub at CES 2016.
While it may resemble the Amazon Echo in form and in functionality, the LG Smart ThinQ Hub may come up short when it hits the market next year. The device will serve as a gateway to smart sensors and connected appliances in a users home, offering reminders from personal calendars and it will also stream music from built-in speakers. The Smart ThinQ Hub features a 3.5-inch color LCD display and connects to a smartphone app to allow two-way communication with smart appliances and smart sensors in the home. The device doesn’t offer speech commands, which is one of the key selling points of the Amazon Echo.
The Smart ThinQ Hub monitors, controls and collects information from home appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, robotic vacuum cleaners, air conditioners and a variety of sensors if they are compatible. Data is displayed in the form of notifications on the LCD screen or announced through its speaker of the LG Smart ThinQ Hub, acting as the central “hub” of the smart home. This allows users to communicate via a single device instead of a separate smartphone app for each smart-enabled product.
The Smart ThinQ features a metallic body in two color schemes: Champagne Gold and Black. The LCD display is tilted at an angle to make it easier to read and the internal speaker can stream music from iHeartRadio or a Bluetooth-enabled devices.
The Smart ThinQ Hub is compatible with a number of devices from other manufacturers and service providers that support the AllJoyn Alliance open source framework in the form of smart home packages which will soon become available for purchase.
The “Energy Package” consists of the Smart ThinQ Hub as well as smart lighting and an energy measurement sensor. The “Safety Package” will include the Smart ThinQ Hub, a Lowe’s Iris motion sensor, a contact sensor and water leak sensor.
“The LG Smart ThinQ Hub is just another example of the open approach we believe is the future of the smart home,” said Seong-jin Jo, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “An open platform and strong partnerships with industry leaders are what will make smart home technology more accessible and more convenient to consumers. And at the end of the day, that is what our smart home strategy is all about.”
At $179 the Amazon Echo is still the leading connected-home hub on the market but it will be interesting to see how rival companies will streamline the IOT process as we head into 2016.