Whirlpool Corporation is bringing the connected home to life through purposeful innovations that simplify the everyday experiences of cooking and cleaning.
We sat down with Jason Mathew, Senior Director, Global Connected Strategy at Whirlpool, to learn more about the company’s approach to technology, its growing smart home appliance ecosystem, and how builders can benefit. Here's what he had to say.
What is purposeful innovation and why should builders pay attention to it?
Purposeful innovation is a principle that guides our decision-making and actions. That mindset is anchored by a belief that every product we develop, every feature we create and every collaboration we enter into is inspired by helping people care for the ones they love. We view technology as an enabler to help power our mission of making the everyday acts of cooking and cleaning easier, faster, and better.
With our innovative appliance offerings, builders have an opportunity to provide homeowners with practical and everyday solutions that create real consumer value.
What inspired Whirlpool Corporation to create connected appliances?
Our brand purpose provides our inspiration, and new technologies like connectivity, ecosystems and new services will enable us to go further and faster than we previously imagined. The opportunity to create new ways for consumers to interact with appliances, deliver amazing consumer experiences and offer additional services via collaborations with industry leaders are all enabled by digital transformation.
Our connected appliances help homeowners make cooking and cleaning more intuitive; simplify common tasks; and make everyday tasks more seamless—allowing more time for moments that matter.
Everyday consumers ask questions like “What’s for dinner?” Our future vision is to redefine the cooking experience and address those common, everyday questions.
To deliver this vision, Whirlpool Corporation acquired Yummly, a leading meal discovery platform in 2017. Yummly boasts more than 27 million registered users and is one of the world’s largest digital recipe platforms. Users have the ability to curate personalized recipes that align with specific diets, allergies, tastes, and flavor preferences.
The acquisition strengthens Whirlpool’s ability to bring purposeful, consumer-relevant innovations to market in the emerging IoT space. In fact, Yummly 2.0 is expected to launch this spring, which further strengthens our position as a leader in building a seamlessly integrated connected kitchen.
* WiFi & App Required. Features subject to change. For details and privacy statement, visit whirlpool.com/connect.
How has Whirlpool integrated smart technology and connectivity into its product lines?
In 2018, Whirlpool Corporation will be bringing connectivity to the masses with the planned launch of more than 20 connected smart kitchen products.
Our smart appliances offer families control of both kitchen and laundry appliances from anywhere in the home via the Whirlpool mobile app or a smart device. (Appliance must be set to Remote Enable. WiFi & App Required. Features subject to change. For details and privacy statement, visit whirlpool.com/connect.)
Consumers will have new ways to interact with Whirlpool appliances by means of voice with our Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa collaborations. We also recently announced an appliance industry first - Apple Watch integration which will provide another consumer/smart device interaction method.
How does Whirlpool Corporation help builders incorporate connectivity into their homes?
The smart home has incredible potential and consumer interest, but for the everyday person the marketplace can be confusing and frustrating. Because the smart home marketplace is still very fragmented, it can be difficult for homeowners to identify the package of lights, locks, thermostats, and appliances they should choose for their home.
Whirlpool Corporation can help builders solve some of these friction points. Whirlpool is collaborating with a growing ecosystem of trusted brands, including Honeywell, Google, Nest, Amazon, and Apple, to simplify smart home solutions and products for the entire home.
* Away signal can take up to two hours. Appliance must be set to Remote Enable. WiFi & App Required. Features subject to change. For details and privacy statement, visit whirlpool.com/connect.
What kind of consumer demand have you seen emerge for appliance technology? What are some of the top connected appliance features that homeowners want most?
In a 2017 survey of 1,000 homeowners, commissioned by Whirlpool, two-thirds stated it’s likely their next appliance purchase will be smart appliances. Consumers are interested in saving time, reducing steps, and increasing convenience, and by automating cooking experiences, we can help homeowners spend more time with the ones they love.
For example, our industry first Scan-to-Cook feature enables cooking packaged goods like a frozen pizza with fewer steps and will notify you when food is ready. After a user scans the UPC barcode on a frozen food package in the Whirlpool mobile app, the technology will send the directions, temperature, and cooking time settings straight to the appliance.
In addition, for more than 100 years consumers have been interacting with appliances physically by turning a knob or pushing buttons. In 2018, consumers can speak and direct select appliances with voice collaboration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant.
Where do you foresee the future of home connectivity going? What’s next?
The connected home will change the way we live, but that transformation will not happen overnight. We can expect that the smart home will take a platform approach -- devices will interoperate and new use cases will emerge that drive efficiency, control, customization and consumer delight. The smart home of the future is the ambient home where things happen when they’re supposed to and how they’re supposed to with no app required.
In 2018, Whirlpool Corporation is taking a giant leap toward our vision to redefine product and deliver magical consumer experiences. Our purpose provides clear direction and energy to our team and we are incredibly excited about upcoming launches.