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Haier's pitch at IFA: Connect all of the things

With a focus on air, water, diet, security and health, Haier's U+ Smart Life Platform makes the case for connecting everything in your home.

BERLIN -- The Internet of Things includes more "things" than ever, and as our homes become increasingly connected, Haier wants a seat at the table. To that end, it introduced its U+ Smart Life Platform at the IFA trade show in Berlin. Through it, a wide array of appliances and devices in your home will be able to work together wirelessly, with controls and notifications syncing with a dedicated smartphone app.

It's far from the first pitch at a singular smart home control platform, but it's one of the more robust that we've heard. As Haier describes it, U+ focuses on air quality, water, diet, security and health, with smart appliances working together to solve problems and make life easier. For instance, you'll be able sync Haier's connected air monitor, the Airbox, with a U+ compatible air conditioner to help regulate both climate and air quality.

The platform is open by design, the hope being that third-party manufacturers will jump on board, creating an even wider range of smart appliance options. Haier might be overly optimistic here, as we haven't seen the same sort of vigorous third-party development in the large appliances space that we've seen with smaller smart-home startups. Many of the major manufacturers already have their own connected efforts -- to that extent, U+ seems like a bit of a "me-too" platform for Haier.

The decidedly non-box-shaped Haier Airbox.


Still, Haier has a history with connected appliances, including a first-of-its-kind Apple-certified smart air conditioner that predates Apple's iOS based smart-home platform, HomeKit. It's one of the appliances that'll sync up with the Airbox for smart air quality management. That growing depth of product options and history with consumers might make U+ an especially interesting option for anyone who's already bought in.

Among other options, there's a Haier-built smart security system with motion detectors, open/closed sensors, and a variety of environmental sensors -- all of them will sync with the U+ app. There are also integrations with Haier laundry appliances, like the newly announced Haier Intelius 2.0 washing machine . In the kitchen, you'll be able to track the temperature and contents of your connected Haier fridge.

For something more high concept, there's the "Magic Mirror," an Internet-connected, touch-capacitive bathroom mirror capable of delivering notifications, streaming video while you're in the tub, and syncing with other smart bathroom products, like connected bathroom scales that help you track your weight.


Haier also claims the Magic Mirror can also analyze your body and make outfit suggestions, though I'm not sure I want my mirror thinking that hard about what it sees when I step out of the shower. For what it's worth, there's also a built-in smell sensor and, um, odor alarm. I suppose that's one way to scare off unwanted houseguests.

Haier's U+ appliances are Europe-specific for the time being, and there's no word on whether or not any of them will eventually jump to other regions, as well. No word on pricing or availability yet, either -- we'll keep you posted as we learn more.

For more of the best of IFA 2015, check outCNET's complete coverage.