If you don’t have an Amazon Echo you might not know that the virtual assistant Alexa has “skills.” Think of it as third-party apps that tap into the power of Alexa without ever needing native support.
General Electric has introduced another step toward the fully connected home with the launch of Geneva, an Alexa “skill” that allows users to control WiFi-enabled GE Monogram, Café and Profile appliances with their voice, using an Amazon Echo, Dot or other device that runs Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. Continue reading “GE Adds Voice Control With Amazon Alexa”
Most of us in the Kitchen and Bath Design World are focused on KBIS next week so the news that Whirlpool received nine International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 Innovation Awards for seven new kitchen and laundry products this week might have been missed.
Amazon Dash Built In
Whirlpool Smart Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer allows families to auto-order detergent, Whirlpool’s Affresh dishwasher cleaner or dryer sheets through Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service (DRS).
The appliances determine when they need to order more supplies based on the number of cycles they’ve run since the last order.
Whirlpool’s new washer and dryer are both set to go on sale later this year for $1,399 each.
Smart Kitchen Suite
Smart Kitchen Suite can also tell Whirlpool’s new smart washer and dryer to activate various modes, including quiet mode for those late night wash sessions, and “wrinkle shield” for when you’re away from home but don’t want your clothes crumpling in the dryer.
The complete suite includes the Smart French Door Refrigerator, Smart Front Control Range, and Smart Dishwasher, all of which fall under what Whirlpool is calling the CareSync system.
The setting can be activated manually, or automatically, through the Smart Kitchen Suite’s new Nest integration.
For example, the Smart French Door Refrigerator offers a Party Mode for entertaining, which drops fridge temperatures to keep foods from getting warm (due to repeated opening and closing), not to mention make ice faster. The Smart Refrigerator also uses smart notifications to alert families of a power or WiFi outage, so food in the fridge can be checked on immediately.
Tech for a Better World
With a new program called Connect to Care, you’ll be able to automatically donate to Habitat for Humanity every time you run the washing machine. The program is meant to show how big change can be accomplished through incremental good deeds — you can give as little as 10 cents with each load.
This smart washer and dryer also integrate with the Nest Learning Thermostat, so when Nest is set to Away, the dryer can switch to Eco Mode to save energy (up to 73%) with a longer, more energy-efficient cycle.
Meet June, the first oven with artificial intelligence.
June is a countertop oven, which looks like a more sophisticated version of your standard toaster, with a 5-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi, a quad-core Nvidia Tegra K1 processor, a high-definition camera that’s protected behind insulated glass and a single stainless control dial that’s its only real physical button. The feet of the June oven are scales that weigh whatever’s inside the oven (or on top of it).
Using smart technology, June identifies the type of food, weight and internal temperature, and then recommends the time and cooking temp suitable for your meal. All you have to do is select “OK.”
“This is going to go down in history as the first kitchen appliance which was artificially intelligent,” –Nikhil Bhogal, June co-founder
This tiny oven boasts 1,800 Watts of power and a roomy 1.0 cu. foot interior thanks to the control panel built into the insulated glass door.
June can cook a 12.5″ pizza or a small turkey with the carbon-fiber heating elements working with convection fans and a temperature probe.
The Connected Kitchen
It seems all new ovens these days have an app for your iPhone (sorry, android users) and June is no different. June’s co-founder and CTO, Nikhil Bhogal is a former Apple Engineer. Other members of the June team have worked on the iPhone, the Apple Watch, GoPro cameras and Fitbit fitness trackers.
Nikhil Bhogal and Matt Van Horn, co-founder and CEO, are on the cutting edge of optical recognition technology. The June oven can currently recognize 15 foods by distinguishable micro-textures. While June can recognize the different between a pork chop and steak by recognizing fat patterns, it cannot yet identify different cuts of meat.
Coming Next Spring
The June team feels this new oven is a good fit with about 80% of the market that does not want to use a 5.0 cu. foot oven for a small meal or half a dozen cookies; however, the $1,495 price tag means it’s not for everyone.
Your June can be reserved with a $95 deposit. The company says the oven will cost $2,995 next year once it is widely available.
That being said, there’s the question of making an expensive appliance investment in an unknown company. Warranty information has not been released yet and if the June has a problem who do you call to fix it?
Even though June is a countertop appliances, it is a powerful 45 pound one and many homeowners may find they will need a dedicated 20 amp circuit to plug the June into.
I think a smart oven has to be treated like any other internet connected device and consumers need to know if patches and software updates will be available after they purchase their model. I’d hate to purchase a $3,000 oven and find out it can’t communicate with the newest iPhone.
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