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Whirlpool Embraces Alexa

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Not to be left out from the IoT party Whirlpool joins the fray (again) with new machines being introduced this year that you can command using Alexa enabled devices like Amazon’s Echo etc.

Whirlpool teams up with Amazon for voice controlSo now if you buy such Whirlpool appliances you can tell your washing machine to start and a few other things that are frankly, useless for the most part.

You can tell your oven to start to heat up, set the temperature and such which may have a moderate use we guess.

And tell your Whirlpool fridge to turn off the ice, set temperatures and get info like the current temperatures.

We’d love to say we were blown away by this advance in modern technology but, we’d be lying. It’s little more than a gimmick if you ask us.

So okay, why’s that then?

Well for a start with washing machines you need to put stuff in it like, you know clothes and stuff you want to clean. Then there’s the detergent and so on. You need to see what clothes are in it to determine what detergent, how much, what cycle to use and all that boring stuff to ensure that the washing machine cleans the laundry which, let’s face it, is why you have one!

So remotely being able to start it or whatever is, in our opinion, completely useless.

Remotely firing up the oven may be of use for sure but, in the interest of safety is it wise? What if someone put something in it, left the door open or whatever? If God forbid it goes up in flames or melts the knobs and facia then who’s to blame and libel for that damage, Whirlpool for lack of safety features or the owner for not checking?

Connected fridges we’ve been over before many times on this site and the short of it is from our point of view, it’s not worth paying for and we’d avoid it as there’s also little to no use case for them that we have seen.

Cool gadgets sure, they might even impress the neighbours but practical daily use of them seems limited at best.

No information on UK or EU availability at the time of writing.

But the full propaganda, sorry PR release from Whirlpool follows.

++PRESS RELEASE+++

Whirlpool Corporation announces a new collaboration with Amazon that will usher in a suite of home appliances responsive to voice control. In early 2017, new smart appliances launching across the company's portfolio of brands will feature voice control capabilities through Alexa enabled devices.[1]

By helping families adjust the temperature of their oven or change their wash cycle with their voice, the voice control capabilities through Alexa devices will simplify and improve consumers' busy lives.

"As we continue to explore innovative solutions, we always want to do so with consumers' habits and needs in mind," said Brett Dibkey, Vice President of Integrated Business Units 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."

Consumers will be able to use their Amazon Alexa devices to ask Alexa to help with a host of tasks on appliances across the Whirlpool Corporation portfolio:

  • Consumers can ask Alexa to pause and start washers and dryers; turn on/off quiet mode; tell the dryer to run the Wrinkle Shield™ option; ask if the washer or dryer is running; and ask for the time remaining on a wash or dry cycle.
  • In the kitchen, consumers can use Alexa to interact with smart ovens to set and adjust the cooking mode, temperature and time; ask whether the oven is on; ask how much time is remaining on the oven timer; ask for the current oven temperature; set, start and stop the oven timer.
  • Consumers can also interact with refrigerators to turn on/off maximum ice and maximum cool settings; ask for refrigerator filter status; ask for current refrigerator temperatures; and set pantry drawer temperature modes.

"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.

"We're eager to continue working with Amazon as it is a leader in e-commerce and automated replenishment, as well as voice control," Dibkey said. "The capabilities this relationship brings to our portfolio of appliances reinforces Whirlpool Corporation's commitment to purposeful innovation."

Whirlpool Corporation will first showcase the new Amazon Alexa capabilities—available through the Whirlpool skill on Alexa enabled devices like Echo and Echo Dot—on nearly every Whirlpool brand smart appliance on display at this week's CES® 2017 in Las Vegas. From January 5-8, CES attendees can experience the new Alexa skill at booth #41730 in the Smart Home section, located at the Sands Expo Center.

The Whirlpool skill for Amazon Alexa will be available in early 2017.

[1] Requires WiFi and account creation. App features and functionality subject to change. Subject to Terms of Service available at: www.whirlpool.com/connect. Data rates may apply.

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