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Amazon’s Voice-Activation System Becoming Standard in Appliances

Smart appliances with built-in voice activation are becoming standard for many manufacturers. At the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, held this month in Las Vegas, Amazon’s Alexa was the voice-activation system of choice, according to CNET.

Whirlpool voice-integration with Alexa will become standard in many of the manufacturer’s refrigerators, washers, dryers and range ovens in early 2017, reports Time. The article says the integration will allow users to talk to their appliances to accomplish simple tasks. This includes setting the oven to a certain temperature or adding more time to a dryer cycle. Users will need an Alexa-operated smart home system, like the Amazon Echo, to communicate with connected appliances, according to Time.

“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,” says Whirpool’s vice president of integrated business units Brett Dibkey in the company’s announcement of its collaboration with Amazon. “The capabilities this relationship brings to our portfolio of appliances reinforces Whirlpool Corporation’s commitment to purposeful innovation.”

LG debuted the second generation of its Smart InstaView Refrigerator at CES 2017, reports CNET. The appliance previously utilized Microsoft’s voice-activated smart home assistant Cortana. However, the new model is now connected to Amazon’s Alexa, the article adds. Unlike other Alexa-connected appliances, CNET reports the refrigerator can operate as an Alexa smart home hub. This allows users to not only order groceries but also control other connected devices.

GE announced in September 2016 its plan to make Alexa standard in its Wi-Fi connected and Monogram® appliances. This includes refrigerators, dishwashers, wall ovens, ranges, laundry machines and others.

“Voice connectivity has a big role in the Internet of Things, as well as in the home,” says Liz VerSchure, vice president responsible for GE Appliances connected strategy in the announcement. “Integrating our connected appliances with Alexa will help make consumers’ lives easier, more productive and a little more fun.”

More than 7,000 companies have integrated Alexa into their products, according to NBC.

Amazon reported sales of its Alexa-controlled smart home products contributed to the retailer’s “best ever” holiday season in 2016.

About Melanie Moul

Melanie Moul
Melanie is the features editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. Originally from South Bend, Indiana, has a degree in professional writing. She worked in central Pennsylvania for several years after college as a barista and an editor and returned to the Hoosier State in late 2016 to join the NRHA team. In her spare time, she enjoys testing new recipes and watching online makeup tutorials. She and her husband are raising their son and two fur children in Indianapolis.

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