How AI and Wi-FI are changing product servicing forever

The first time most of us know there’s a problem with one of our home appliances is when they stop working. Wouldn’t life be better if there were warnings beforehand? Now, that’s becoming a reality as AI and Wi-Fi are changing product servicing, letting appliances report back to servicing centres automatically.

With the launch of its new Signature Kitchen Suite range, LG is taking the first steps down this line via its Proactive Service, powered by ThinQ AI. For those customers that opt-in, Proactive Service sets a product to send constant monitoring information back to the LG service centre.

Via the cloud, LG can then monitor each appliance, looking for abnormal usage signals, which a technician can then interpret and send you relevant information. For example, LG could detect when a fridge has its door left open, or there’s a power-cut in your property, sending a message to let you know of the issue.

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More complicated problems can also be detected, with LG citing the example of an overloaded fridge, which starts to affect cooling performance, reducing the lifespan of food.

In all of these examples, the solution is fairly straightforward and can be performed by the owner on site, but if a local repair can’t be performed things can step up a notch. Remote diagnosis of the machine lets technicians detect the likely fault, so they can arrive on-site with the parts that they need. According to LG, 50% to 60% of the diagnosis is done before the visit.

In all cases, Proactive Servicing uses data that the home appliance is generating internally anyway; the difference is that a dedicated module allows this data to be transmitted via Wi-Fi to a central location where it can be watched, analysed and learnt from.

While the Signature Kitchen Suite is yet to launch in the UK (it’s coming to Europe via Italy this year), it’s likely that this technology will start to make its way down into lower-value products. And, it’s only the start.

In factories companies use a range of monitoring sensors, using AI to monitor them and spot for issues that are likely to lead to a problem. This is called predictive maintenance and can have a huge impact on run-time and performance. By monitoring machinery automatically, looking for abnormalities, it’s possible to spot problems before they become critical.

Increasing the number and type of sensors inside a home appliance could increase the fault-detecting capabilities. And, powered by AI, the ability to spot abnormalities and what’s causing them increases over time.

Even in the current phase, the ability for companies, with your permission, to better understand and warn you about problems could prove to save both money and time.

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