There's no shortage of smart appliances now, but that won't help you much if you bought your gear a few years ago. What if you want to get your existing refrigerator talking to the rest of your automated home? GE may soon have a solution... if you're one of its previous customers, anyway. The company tells GigaOM that it's developing a WiFi-based Connect box that will link some fridges from 2009 and newer (all of them equipped with Ethernet jacks) to the Wink smart home system. While it's not clear just what this will do for your not-quite-cutting-edge food box, it wouldn't be surprising if the add-on at least gives you a heads-up when something goes awry.
The company is launching a fairly aggressive test program. It's handing out 20,000 Connect devices as part of a trial run. If that's successful, there's a chance that GE will soon let anyone with a qualifying fridge join the modern era. It's not clear if other appliances will join the mix, although it's easy to see a day when you put at least a handful of your household devices on the network.