Hey Google – Electrolux and Hoover integrate voice into appliances

Appliance brands Electrolux and Hoover are both venturing into voice activation, partnering with Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa to integrate voice commands into some of their latest products.

The announcements came at this year’s IFA show, the biggest electronics and technology event in Europe and the opportunity for brands to show off their latest innovations.

Electrolux said that all its connected kitchen appliances will eventually be integrated with Google Assistant, starting with the firm’s smart ovens in early 2019.

“It shows we are well on the way to make connected products truly relevant for consumers, leveraging technology in new ways to make their cooking experiences simple and rewarding,” said David Crönstrom, vice-president, strategy and innovation at Electrolux in a LinkedIn blog.

Electrolux in the US claims to be the first white-goods company to have partnered with Google, integrating voice activation in its air conditioners and precision cookers in 2017, but now the firm said it is taking the collaboration “deeper into the kitchen”.

“We believe there is tremendous potential here. By taking the consumer insights we have built up during Electrolux’s 100 years of history, and combining these tools with powerful digital technology, such as voice, AI and computer vision, we can create entirely new experiences in the home, for instance around assisted cooking,” said Mr Crönstrom.

Meanwhile Hoover launched an expansion of its artificial intelligence AXI range, with a refrigerator and tumble-dryer set to join an AI washing machine and dishwasher, introduced to the market over the summer.

The AXI range boasts AI, meaning users can not only tell the models to start a program or report on energy usage, but they can also ask it for advice, such as how to remove a certain stain from laundry. Geolocation technology enables wash cycles to be delayed or timed to finish when the weather’s good for line drying.

Hoover said its AXI appliances will use voice-assist functionality via Google Home and Amazon Alexa but the firm said it was working on its own voice assistant, which it plans to feature in future models.

It said its new smart Vision oven, the Vision 2.0, expected to launch in the UK late 2019, would have in-built voice-assist technology that can be used to control the oven and its features.

The firm said it will be able to connect to other smart kitchen appliances, such as the refrigerator, to store information and communicate with other appliances.

“For example, the technology aims to record ingredients in the fridge, meaning it can suggests recipes to users or even advise when certain produce is nearly out-of-date.”