According to Whirlpool, its Alexa-enabled appliances will help “families adjust the temperature of their oven or change their wash cycle with their voice”, the aim being to “simplify and improve customers’ busy lives”.
The corporation is showcasing the first of the new appliances at the CES 2017 show in Las Vegas, taking place until the 8th January. “As we continue to explore innovative solutions, we always want to do so with consumers’ habits and needs in mind,” said Brett Dibkey, integrated business units vice president at Whirlpool Corporation.
“As demand for a smart home ecosystem grows, consumers are looking for a wide variety of new ways to interact with their appliances, whether it’s on-product, digitally with an app, or through voice control,” added Dibkey.
Through the Echo, Echo Dot, or other Alexa-enabled devices, owners will be able to control some of the core functions of these new appliances. The most useful commands are for Whirlpool’s ovens, which will let owners set cooking times and temperatures by voice and ask for updates on how much time is remaining.
Whirlpool’s new washers and dryers will also be able to provide info on time remaining through Alexa, as well as let owners enable a quiet mode. Its fridges will also let you quickly adjust temperatures, in case that’s a thing you enjoy doing on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, Alexa isn’t being directly built in to any of these appliances, so you’re going to need another Alexa-enabled device nearby if you want to use these features. They’re supposed to launch sometime “early” this year on most of Whirlpool’s new products. Whirlpool didn’t say if older smart appliances would be supported, too.
“Now any customer with a far-field Alexa enabled device can control most smart appliances made by Whirlpool Corporation, simply using their voice,” said Rob Pulciani, Director, Amazon Alexa. “Our customers will love the added convenience of hands-free controls while they’re prepping for dinner or finishing that last load of laundry.”
The collaboration of Alexa expands on the success of Whirlpool Corporation’s relationship with Amazon, which also includes Amazon Dash Replenishment in laundry and kitchen products. The collaboration has proven popular with busy consumers, who have benefitted from the ease and simplicity of automatic reordering of products and never having to experience that ‘ran out of it’ moment. In early 2017, this capability will be extended to more appliance models across the Whirlpool Corporation portfolio.