As firms have introduced sensible equipment after sensible equipment, some individuals (myself included) have questioned why on earth you’d need to join one thing like a washer or fridge to the web. Samsung, nonetheless, has give you a really compelling, if admittedly area of interest, use case: the corporate announced in December that it is issuing an over-the-air software program patch as a part of the recall for some top-load washing machines that “can short-circuit and overheat, posing a fire hazard.”

It’ll even ship some clients a dongle in case their washers can’t hook up with Wi-Fi.

Welcome to the “first-ever over-the-air software recall remedy in the home appliances industry.” 

According to Samsung, your washer ought to robotically obtain the replace by way of its SmartThings app if you have already got it arrange and related to Wi-Fi. It is, nonetheless, advising shoppers to test what software program model their machines are working and to “immediately download this software update” earlier than utilizing the machines once more if it isn’t already put in. People who haven’t related their Wi-Fi-enabled machines can accomplish that by following the company’s instructions here.

Samsung says the difficulty is that the management panel of round 14 fashions bought within the US between June 2021 and December 2022 might probably overheat, inflicting it to smoke, soften, and even catch on fireplace. There are round 663,500 items affected, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the regulator that offers with remembers. The CPSC additionally notes “51 reports of smoking, melting, overheating or fire involving the washers; 10 of which resulted in property damage.” Three individuals have been additionally apparently injured resulting from smoke inhalation.

Washing machine remembers aren’t precisely uncommon — Whirlpool and GE have each recalled items thanks to fireside considerations, and Samsung famously settled a class action suit over some machines that will vibrate excessively and probably come aside whereas doing so, resulting in what the CPSC described as “impact injuries.” But this technique of recalling them isn’t frequent, not less than for home equipment (Tesla famously fixes a number of remembers by way of software program updates). Samsung calls this the “first-ever over-the-air software recall remedy in the home appliances industry.”

For these which can be caught coping with a recall, having to take action by way of a software program replace could also be much less of a trouble than having to schedule an in-home restore or get a heavy, cumbersome machine taken out of their properties.

I do say “may” as a result of, like many IoT gadgets, there are a couple of caveats that individuals could run into if they’ve to attach their washer to the web for the primary time. Samsung says you gained’t be capable to hook up with a community if it has one thing apart from letters and numbers in its identify and that it must be a 2.4Ghz community — a number of routers as of late will use the identical SSID for each 2.4 and 5Ghz networks, and whereas gadgets ought to theoretically be capable to navigate that scenario, it doesn’t at all times work completely. (I personally have separate 2.4 and 5Ghz networks for that motive, although not all people will be capable to determine how one can set that up.)

While these is likely to be comparatively minor hurdles for tech-inclined individuals, they may undoubtedly be tough for others if their Wi-Fi setup occurs to be somewhat out of the atypical. Then there are the machines that don’t have Wi-Fi built-in. If you may have a kind of, you’ll be able to contact Samsung to get a dongle that plugs right into a particular port in your machine. According to a Samsung instructional video, the dongle will robotically replace your washer’s software program after you plug it in.

It’s clearly not nice that this challenge occurred within the first place, however I’ll give some kudos to Samsung for arising with what seems to be an affordable resolution right here, even with the potential Wi-Fi pitfalls. Washing machines are necessary home equipment in lots of households, and having to spend every week or two with out one wouldn’t be enjoyable. And whereas fixing a difficulty by way of a software program replace gained’t be doable in each situation — and Samsung is oddly obscure on whether or not the issue outcomes from a software program bug within the first place — on this case, it ought to imply that individuals can have their machines again up and working safely in an hour or two.

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