September 16, 2013

Smart Appliances: Smarter Than You Think

Chances are you’ve had an appliance repairman at your home at some point over the years, and it probably involved him taking apart the appliance to try to find out what’s wrong with it. In the future, those days will be gone.

If you haven’t been in an appliance showroom lately, you may not have realized that appliances are getting smarter. And you wouldn’t be alone – even the host of This Old House Kevin O’Connor, found that out recently when his dryer wasn’t working properly.

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee highlights the appliance industry’s continued development of smart appliances – appliances that are able to “talk” to their owners to operate at certain times of the day and to assist in the diagnosing of any problems.

As for O’Connor, he called the customer service number who was able to remotely diagnose his dryer’s problem as being related to a clogged exhaust vent – a task he was able to take care of himself without having to pay for a repairman to visit.

Appliance companies are using this new technology differently. Some allow owners to download free apps and allow them to interact with their appliances using their smart phone, tablet or computer and tell them when the drying cycle is complete, for example. Other appliances come equipped with a data port that allow service technicians to connect via their laptop to scan for any issues, similar to the way a mechanic can scan a car’s computer for problems.

Warwick Stirling, senior director of connectivity and sustainability for Whirlpool, says, “We’re moving from the electro-mechanical to the software-driven space. We’ve found we can get more reliability from
solid-state electronics.”

Click here to read the full article.

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