Voice operation is future of home appliances at CES

05 Jan, 17

Samsung, LG and Whirlpool introduce voice-operated appliances

Each year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), currently underway in Las Vegas, showcases the latest gadgetry to over 170,000 visitors, including the latest tech for home appliances. This year has seen a greater focus on the smart home, with the advent of voice-operated controls using proprietory software and even in collaboration with Amazon Echo’s personal assistant Alexa. 


Smart home appliances

Whirlpool introduced a line-up of appliances – the Smart Kitchen Suite, including cooking, refrigeration, dishwashing and laundry- which can be used in collaboration with Amazon Echo. Using the Whirlpool mobile app, consumers can operate a far afield Alexa-enabled appliance by just speaking, whether it’s to turn the oven to a specific temperature, turn the laundry to quiet mode or ask how much time remains for the laundry cycle.

But not restricted to Amazon control alone, Whirlpool looked at alternative ways to simplify and automate appliance processes using its app, from Scan-to-Cook which allows users to scan the barcode on food packaging to set temperature and cooking time, through to an integration with Nest thermostats which knows when users are away and can communicate to the dryer to select an Eco mode for a longer, more efficient cycle.

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Alexa-powered refrigeration 

LG  also unveiled Amazon Alexa-controlled refrigeration and Hub Robot, which can operate smart appliances as well as act as a notification centre using voice control.


The LG Smart InstaView refrigerator boasts a /29” touch display, that can turn transparent allowing users to check the contents, and includes the Amazon Alexa personal assistant. From a choice of over 6,000 skills, it means users can search for recipes, play music, check weather or traffic reports and place Prime orders from Amazon.com (including groceries), just using voice control.


In addition to its Amazon services, the refrigerator allows consumers to input expiry dates for food, create to-do lists, share memos and check the contents on a smartphone when out shopping using the built-in fridge camera. 



Second version of Family Hub

However, Samsung also looked to enhance its premium Family Hub refrigerator, with improved app integration and a wider choice of app partners. The Family Hub /2.0 sees the introduction of the Groceries by MasterCard app to order shopping and the Recipe App, powered by AllRecipes. While the Family Hub app allows users to share photos, calenders or memos from the fridge’s /21.5 LED Touchscreen on their phone.

In addition, for ease of use, Samsung also offers voice-operated technology across many of its Family Hub /2.0’s apps.

To offer further choice, Samsung is also collaborating with the likes of Spotify and grocers like Eataly and Lidl.




Four-in-one washing machine 

Samsung also challenged preconceptions of laundry appliance design, with the launch of FlexWash + FlexDry to offer two washers and two dryers in the same footprint.

The FlexWash washing machine offers a large capacity front-loading drum, with a smaller capacity top-loading cavity, likewise FlexDry offers a main front-loading drum and Delicate Rack zone at the top of the dryer.

They have been designed so consumers can wash lights and darks, differing fabrics or level of soiling at the same time.

Both FlexWash and FlexDry are WiFi-enabled and can be operated using the Samsung Smart Home app on a mobile phone to start, stop and monitor cycles.