Much More than White Goods
Much More than White Goods
LG pioneers convergence of home appliances
It used to be that being good at one thing was good enough. A telephone was a telephone and people were happy with being able to make phone calls. However, with the advancement of technology and the globalization of culture, people are beginning to find the value of being able to do it all. It is just cooler, never mind more convenient, to have more features in a product. It is a world in which we seek efficiency, a one stop solution to many problems.
We have already witnessed the evolution of credit cards. The next generation credit cards, now being dubbed as "Smart Cards" can be used to store personal information to be used as identification. They can also work as keys to open locks. Mobile phones are another fine example of such a trend. Mobile phones used to be big and blocky and not as widely used as pagers. Now they are as small as the pagers used to be and contain functions enough to be called small computers. We have come to expect features like digital camera or mp3 in our mobiles. We can also browse the internet, send emails, play games or even watch TV on our mobiles. Even more impressive, some mobile phones can store credit information and be used as a method of payment, replacing the use of credit cards! Pretty soon, all we'll have to carry in our purses will be a mobile phone. The big keyword here is "convergence." And home appliances are no exception.
David Park, the head of the overseas sales & marketing of the Digital Appliance Company at LG Electronics (LG) refuses to categorize his company's home appliance products as "white goods". And according to him, they are not. "Take a look at our products. The first thing you will realize is that they are very colorful, and also much more versatile than you would have ever expected your typical home appliance products to be." Indeed, the newest generation of refrigerators and air conditioners, washing machines and cooking appliances have undergone a drastic makeover. And the newest electronics giant, LG spearheads the efforts to change the traditional perception of white goods with technological superiority, unmatched creativity and a sense of style.
Convergence in Home Appliance
LG's new breed of appliances has broken the boundaries of the traditional "white goods" with the convergence of different functions and technologies. The lineup of appliances with built-in TVs or Internet connections have garnered worldwide acclaim and serve as a flagship to showcasing LG's technological prowess. Customers can now download cooking instructions or pre-programmed washing instructions straight off the refrigerator or the washing machine.
The effort to give more convenience to customers extends to other household products. LG's "SolarDom", a compact oven, drastically reduces the cooking time by functionally converging a halogen heater and microwave, delivering the taste of conventional oven cooking with the speed of a microwave. The hugely popular "combi" microwaves combine many different functions in simple and space-saving designs. The combination coffee-maker oven, the Internet-enabled oven, and the toaster oven are all ingenuous creations that have set a global trend. In fact, LG microwave ovens account for the largest global market share.
The convergence of devices has led to the development of the "Home Network", which seems like a concept straight out of some science fiction movies. LG's "home network" of appliances is connected with each other -wired or wireless- and enables access and the exchange of information via the Internet. Now customers can set the room temperature just right or have the meal ready using their mobiles from outside the homes.
Much More Than "White" Goods - LG Adds Colors to Home Appliances
LG is also giving a literal facelift to the traditionally white home appliances, because in today's world, style is sometimes even more important than substance.
Home appliances, which generally include refrigerators, washing machines, stoves and air conditioners, are usually referred to as "white goods" because these household appliances were traditionally finished in white enamel. Back in the days, the color white represented such values as cleanliness, warmth, grace, and perfection. And the original manufacturers wanted their products that are mostly used in the kitchen or the living room to portray those qualities.
LG is introducing a new trend with never-thought-before design elements and style concepts. LG's award winning ARTCOOL air conditioners are a great example of such a trend. Whereas air conditioners have traditionally been big and ugly and needed to be hidden somewhere in the back of the room, the ARTCOOL blends seamlessly with the interior d'cor of the living room. LG incorporated classic art pieces of world famous painters such as Van Gogh and Mondrian on the front panel of its ARTCOOL air conditioners and they have been a smash-hit. ARTCOOL is virtually available everywhere around the world.
LG air conditioners have received numerous design awards around the world including the prestigious iF award and the Reddot design award.
The change of color schemes is even more evident in refrigerators. In Korea, LG's side by side refrigerators are available in 20 different colors. The colors vary from Metal Red to Crystal Blue to Stripe Wine to Black Mirror. The "Trim Kit" feature allows customers to switch the front panel of the refrigerator for different designs. The "color" refrigerators have been such a hit in Korea that the traditional white refrigerators are now becoming regarded as lower-end products. The sale of non-white refrigerators account for 44% of the total sale of side by side type refrigerators in 2004, which is an increase of 12 % over 2003.
Most of LG's premium home appliance products including air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers have gone multi-color as well as white, and the market seems to embrace the new variety. Thus, the traditional thinking of "home appliances are white" can be no more true in the near future with the versatile tastes of consumers if "Colorful White Goods" are unveiled in the market.
LG plans on investing more than US$ 2.2 billion in the research and development of new concepts and products this year. The company also operates design research centers in 5 major cities around the world (New York, Tokyo, Milan, Beijing, and Seoul) to respond to changing trends. Mr. Park said, "We don't just put two things together and say we have a new product. A lot of research and discussions have been put into the development of our convergence products and also in our design concepts. By focusing on developing and maintaining technological leadership and catering to the needs of the customers to enhance the life-styles, we believe we can separate ourselves from the competition and firmly establish the LG name in the consumers' minds as an attractive, must-have brand."