Alexa Integration

The Consumer Electronics Show just wrapped up, and, as usual, there is a massive amount of IoT news to sift through. There were thousands of products announced, and miles of press coverage to read. We’ve been closely watching CES back at SpinDance HQ, and in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing our thoughts on the winners and losers, and what CES says about where IoT is heading.

But today, we wanted to focus on one of our favorite clients, Whirlpool, and highlight some of the announcements they made last week. We’ve been working hard to support their IoT initiatives, and we wanted to discuss some of the technology behind the announcements.

Alexa Integration

Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa was huge presence at CES this year, and Whirlpool announced they are integrating 20 appliances with the service in 2017. It is a well-architected system: Amazon does the heavy lifting of voice UI and provides a clean API to developers. We’ll be blogging about Alexa later this month, and our approach to integrating major appliances, IoT platforms and voice services. We’ve been testing this in house for a while, and we think consumers are going to love it.

Dash Replenishment For the All-One Washer Dryer Combo

An all-in-one washer/dryer combo? Sign us up! Beyond the obvious labor saving benefits, this appliance includes integration with Amazon’s Dash Replenishment service. This enables the unit to automatically reorder supplies through a user’s Amazon Prime account when it’s running low. This isn’t a new feature: we helped bring it to market last year, but it’s an incredibly helpful feature. This is another area we learned a lot, and we can definitively say there is a right and a wrong way to integrate Dash into a product. We’ll be blogging about this later this year.

The washer combo also has a feature called Download & Go, to help users pick the right settings for the right load. It sounds like a gimmick, but it’s surprisingly useful. It’s also a cool IoT pattern, and yet another topic we’ll be blogging about.

Scan-To-Cook And The Smart Appliances Line

Whirlpool’s new Smart Appliances line is not only gorgeous, it is also the most connected family of appliances Whirlpool has produced yet. They support Alexa, Dash, include proximity sensors, full-color controls, and a helpful new feature called Scan-To-Cook. This is a great example of a true End-to-End IoT solution: a user can scan a product’s UPC code, which is then relayed to a cloud application. The cloud app identifies the product in a database, and then wirelessly sends the cooking instructions straight to the appliance. The result is better prepared food and happier easters. It even remembers your preferences! We enjoyed designing this feature, and are eager to see how consumers integrate it into their daily routine.

Zera Food Recycler and Gamification

We saved the best for last: The brand new Zera Food Recycler. This appliance turns table scraps into compost in as little as 24 hours. With 40 percent of food in the US being wasted every year, Zera is a practical solution to this problem. It is beautifully designed and won the the CES award for Best of Innovation in Eco-Design and Sustainable Technologies.

It’s fully connected through a mobile app, and it includes an innovative Gamification system to help onboard new users. We had a lot of fun doing the system design for this feature, and we’re proud to see it rolled out later this year. You can learn more at Zera.com.

Looking Ahead

Our congratulations to the Whirlpool team on a successful CES! 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Whirlpool, and IoT in general. At SpinDance, we’re working on a number of exciting new projects, and we can’t wait to tell you about them.

And we’re always excited to talk about the Internet of Things. Drop us an email at hello@spindance.com with your questions and comments.

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Designing, Building, Launching and Supporting Great IoT

If you're involved with bringing a connected smart device to market, this 12-page guide will give you real-world advice on how to launch a successful product. It includes 26 common questions we think every product owner should ask. Topics include:
  • 1Designing the entire lifecycle of your product, from installation to decommissioning.
  • 2Integrating with other products and services.
  • 3Building resiliency into your system to overcome outages and faulty updates.
  • 4Building a robust process for testing your IoT product.
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