Trend Tracker: More Affordable Smart Appliances

Washer and Dryer to be controlled by app

Whirlpool Smart Front Load Washer and Electric Dryer with 6th Sense Live technology

It’s really exciting to see innovative home product technology becoming a reality. Usually, you hear about trail-blazing washing machines and refrigerators at trade conferences — a prototype that isn’t ready yet for prime time or carrying an eye-popping price tag. That’s why it’s worth us calling attention to the fact that a major name like Whirlpool is bringing appliances to market that you can actually buy now and will sync with your Apple smartphone and tablet.

Whirlpool offers smart appliances

Whirlpool announced this week that it’s rolling out four smart appliances — a refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. The appliances will use what Whirlpool is calling “6th Sense Live” technology. Simply put, each has the ability to be controlled using an app and will communicate with the Smart Grid – the next generation electrical grid already in a handful of cities like Boulder and Austin – but should be more common as time goes on. The Smart Grid will allow appliances to send data to an energy supplier. In practice, as more consumers buy smart technology, this means a utility could monitor usage more accurately and even control the appliance to prevent a system overload during a heat wave.

Monitor your appliances with Whirlpool app

The Whirlpool appliance app, mysmartappliances, is made for the iPhone.

“Smart grid-enabled appliances have evolved into a broader conversation around the connected home and home management. Consumers want to connect to their homes in a meaningful way and benefit from functions that allow them to save energy and monitor their appliances even when away from home,” says Warwick Stirling, Whirlpool Corporation’s global director of sustainability, in the media announcement.  “As connectivity becomes more of a priority in our daily lives, seamless home management is what 6th Sense Live technology provides. We’re proud to provide our consumers with the peace of mind that they can manage daily, essential tasks from anywhere with ease.”

6th Sense Live appliance features

  • Vacation assistant
  • Remote start/pause of appliances
  • Alerts or text messages

With these innovative appliances, users will be able to know when the water filter in the smart refrigerator needs changing or if the smart dishwasher has finished drying the dishes. Through an app, Whirlpool also promises real-time information about energy usage.

Availability and prices

Abt Electronics in Chicago is the exclusive retailer at this time. Whirlpool says other sources will be added later in 2013.  The app, mysmartappliances,  is available for download in the iTunes app store now. No immediate word when Android or Windows devices will be supported.  The line includes:

  • Whirlpool® Smart Side-by-Side Refrigerator with 6th Sense Live technology (WRL767SIAM). Available in Monochromatic Stainless Steel, ($1,999).
  • Whirlpool® Smart Dishwasher with 6th Sense Live technology (WDL785SAAM).  Available in Monochromatic Stainless Steel, ($949).
  • Whirlpool® Smart Front Load Washer and Electric Dryer with 6th Sense Live technology (WFL98HEB/ WEL98HEB). Exact pricing to be determined.

Editor’s note: If you have professional experience with refrigerators or dishwashers, Viewpoints is recruiting experts in priority product categories to write for our blog. Check out this overview of the Viewpoints Category Expert Program, including qualifications, compensation and how to apply.

Carol Fowler Carol Fowler (53 Posts)

Carol's background is broadcast journalism, and for nearly two years, she led the content team at Viewpoints. In 2014, Carol co-founded Queue Digital to help news organizations leverage the explosion in mobile to grow a new audience for their awesome content.