LAS VEGAS, Jan. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) continues to be committed to providing consumers technology with purpose. Today, the convergence of technology with everyday household appliances is evolving to optimize energy consumption and allow appliances to work together. In 2012, the company's flagship brand, Whirlpool brand, will bring connected appliances to the marketplace — yet another step closer to making many of its appliances "smart" by the end of 2015. Over the next 18 months, four appliances will be introduced including a refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer.
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"Our electric grid is more than 100 years old and not designed to handle all of the appliances in today's home. Today appliances work independently from one another with little opportunity to optimize," said Warwick Stirling, global director of energy and sustainability for Whirlpool Corporation. "And while manufacturers continue to explore innovations that improve the energy efficiency of individual products, the incremental gains are getting smaller and becoming more expensive to achieve."
The concept of Smart Grid-enabled appliances has evolved to a broader conversation around the connected home and overall home management. With these new smart appliances, consumers can easily shift their energy consumption to off-peak times — saving money and benefitting the environment. A home energy management device will read usages from appliances and signals from power companies to optimize energy use. Even more appealing for consumers is peace of mind driven by alerts and notifications and 'remote control' functionality.
What Consumers Want
While consumers want to be green, they still want to retain control but will change their energy consumption choices if they are given real-time information about how much energy is being used. More importantly, users don't want to just monitor and manage energy but control functions on their appliances and all home management functions including security systems and water and temperature management. A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation found that:
- Seventy-eight percent are interested in monitoring their household's energy use.
- Most want to use their smartphone to make life easier. In fact, 90% of 18-34 year olds who have a smartphone would be happy to have their smartphone tell their appliances anything; 17% want to know when it's time to switch the laundry and 17% want to know when items are ready (food, etc.).
- When asked about smart phones communicating with appliances, respondents were split on what would be most useful: alert when the washer is done; notify me when items are ready (i.e. cooked/clean); Preheat my oven or turn it off; start appliances for self-clean; tell me what I need to stock the fridge; start or refresh the laundry; start the dishwasher.
Bringing all of this functionality together for the end user is the current focus for manufacturers, utilities and software companies. Ultimately, the Smart grid won't consist of just one app but multiple ways of accessing it through a bundle of applications. This will also affect product design. For example, some of the controls on appliances may be eliminated and be controlled via mobile phone.
Appliances will be able to provide even more feedback to consumers whether it is the concept of preventative maintenance or use and care guides. For example, a clothes dryer needs to have the lint cleaned out of the venting pipe periodically and the appliance could automatically notify consumers when this needs doing. With many washers now offering bulk detergent dispensing, the washer could alert the owner that the reservoir needs to be refilled.
Whirlpool @ CES
Stirling, who is responsible for championing next generation smart appliances connected to the emerging electrical smart grid, will participate in two panel discussions on this topic.
- Window to Tomorrow's Connected Home
Jan. 11, 2012 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM - LVCC, North Hall N254
Smart Grid development has spurred innovation in home appliances, controls and electronics. Companies are now unveiling the next generation of products and devices designed for life on the Grid. The panel discusses what consumers can look forward to in functionality, timing and total home integration.
- Smart Appliances: Ready for Prime Time?
Jan. 12, 2012 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM - LVCC, North Hall N260
Refrigerators with built-in computers. Ovens that download recipes. Washers and dryers that can be controlled from a smartphone and programmed to save money by operating during off-peak times. Are these products selling, and will 2012 be the year that smart appliances finally catch on?
Doug Beaudet, Whirlpool's Global Director of Experience Design, leads an international team of sensorial designers and user experience specialists in five Global Consumer Design studios. Beaudet will participate in a panel discussion around the Connected Healthy Kitchen during the Digital Health Summit at CES.
- The Connected Healthy Kitchen
Jan. 11, 2:25—3:15 PM
Homebuilders, appliance makers, social and digital media companies, and nutritionists are all teaming up with technology to make science-based, consumer-directed health a reality. The win is personal health as well as lowered health care costs. The trends present significant opportunities for both early-stage companies and global brands to take part in the healthy, connected kitchen.
Additionally, Whirlpool brand appliances will be featured in the CES 2012 Concept Home, a real home in the South Hall on Level One in booth 26100. The home features many next generation electronic and non-electronic solutions to retrofit a more energy efficient home. Produced in Association with the U.S. Department of Energy and leading CE companies, the home is full of many excellent energy saving stories.
With 100 years of practice, Whirlpool Corporation knows a thing or two about household chores. This expertise led to the creation of the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science, an informational hub for everything laundry. Additionally, the institute offers daily tips, tricks and advice to consumers via Twitter and Facebook. For more information on Whirlpool brand please visit www.whirlpool.com or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whirlpool.
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation from May 18-20, 2011 among 2,407 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Whirlpool Brand
Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $18 billion in 2010, 71,000 employees, and 66 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. Whirlpool brand recognizes that consumers lead busy, active lives and continues to create solutions that help consumers optimize productivity and efficiency in the home. In addition to designing appliance solutions based on consumer insight, Whirlpool brand is dedicated to creating ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances like the new Duet® washer and dryer (model 9750), the industry's most resource efficient laundry pair, overall efficiency based on equal weighting of cycle time and energy usage. Whirlpool is one of Habitat for Humanity's largest corporate partners, donating a refrigerator and range to every new Habitat for Humanity home built in North America. For more information on Whirlpool brand please visit www.whirlpool.com or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whirlpool.
About Whirlpool Corporation's 100th Anniversary
Founded on Nov. 11, 1911, Whirlpool Corporation has influenced home and family life during the last century. The company is driven by the belief that everyone needs a comfortable place to call home and has a 100 year history of creating better ways of cooking, cleaning, refrigerating and storing. Whirlpool Corporation is focused on improving lives one person, one family, one home, one community at a time.
SOURCE Whirlpool Corporation