Appliances are about to get smarter as Whirlpool and Amazon collaborate to integrate Alexa to common household items. This means it won't be long until anyone can ask their washing machine to wash clothes without literally lifting a finger.
This is not the first time that the two companies worked together. During CES 2016, the companies announced their partnership which brought the Dash Buttons to Whirlpool's dishwasher and dryer line. This year, Alexa would be coming to Whirlpool's new line of smart appliances.
Alexa is Amazon's voice-control system. Aside from Amazon Echo, the system will soon work with smart appliances such as ovens and refrigerators. Many anticipate Alexa's arrival into the next generation of smart homes since this means having a virtual househelp that can improve the lives of consumers.
"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," said Brett Dibkey, vice president of Integrated Business Units at Whirlpool Corporation.
Consumers are granted a sneak peek into the features of the new Alexa-enabled smart appliances as they will be showcased at this year's CES. Whirlpool says the new range of smart appliance will launch by early 2017.
According to The Verge, consumers will need another Alexa-enabled device such as the Echo and the Echo Dot since the voice-control system of Alexa will not be built directly into the appliances.
With voice-control, users may ask Alexa to turn on or turn off the washer features such as Quiet Mode and Wrinkle Shield Option. Meanwhile, Whirlpool also thought about the kitchen during the design stage of Alexa-enabled smart appliances. Users can rely upon Alexa to adjust temperature, modify cooking mode and interact with the oven to see if it's currently working or to ask for the remaining cooking time.
Whirlpool refrigerators will be Alexa-enabled as well. With Alexa onboard, anyone can dictate command to their fridge to turn on or turn off the cool setting and to inquire about the fridge temperature.
"Our customers will love the added convenience of hands-free controls while they're prepping for dinner or finishing that last load of laundry," said Rob Pulciani, director of Amazon Alexa.
With the collaboration, it looks like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg won't be the only ones who can talk to their smart appliances inside their smart homes.