Often when friends get together and ask how things are going, the response is, “Oh, life is crazy!” It’s a universal sentiment that never seems to change. That’s why in recent years, appliance manufacturers have been designing smart technology that simplifies daily tasks, thereby enhancing customers’ quality of life.
Dave Smith, Appliance Gallery Showroom Manager at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, & Lighting Gallery in Indianapolis, has found that Indy homeowners are just starting to recognize how smart appliances can vastly improve their everyday lives. The biggest trend right now is appliances with voice activation, pairing with popular platforms such as Google Home, Alexa, and Apple Home.
“If you have a Whirlpool range and your hands are covered in cookie dough, you can tell [voice activation] it to turn on convection to 325 degrees,” says Smith, noting that Whirlpool purchased the Yummly recipe app and soon (it’s in beta testing now) homeowners will be able to take a picture of five things they have in their refrigerator and the app will display recipes that can be made with those items.
“You hit a button and it will send cooking instructions to your oven,” says Smith. “It goes beyond the appliance function and integrates how the appliance can help you with the recipe.”
Chefs who are lacking confidence in the kitchen can benefit as well. For instance, within the Whirlpool line, Jenn Air has a feature called the Culinary Center that can be operated from a smartphone. If you want to serve beef tenderloin at a dinner party but have no idea how to cook it, the Culinary Center uses visual cues from your app to help you along.
“You can tell it, ‘I want my beef tenderloin medium,’ and it will show you a picture of what medium means to the oven,” explains Smith. “If you want it more or less done, it will let you scroll through pictures to select the desired doneness and will provide an update as to how close you are to that stage. You can watch the progress on the app simultaneously as it’s in the oven.”
Another cool cooking technology is called Cue (available from GE and Hestan) in which the cookware has a sensor that communicates to the app on your smartphone or tablet and, in turn, to the actual burner.
“A lot of people are afraid to cook fish, but the Cue tells you how to preheat the pan, when to add the salmon and the seasoning, and when to turn it,” says Smith. “It gives guided video on your smart device on what to do as it’s happening in your pan in real time.”
The GE Café Series also offers precision cooking via sous vide. Say you wanted to serve filet medallions at a perfect medium. You would cook it to whatever that sous vide temperature and time is, then store them in your refrigerator until your company arrives at which time you sear the medallions to bring them back up to temperature.
“It will be perfectly cooked on the interior without you having to guess,” says Smith.
Thermador’s new smart product series enables communication directly with the manufacturer to diagnose performance issues of an appliance – a feature that saves both time and frustration.
“Nobody’s happy when their product is broken so making it easy to have it diagnosed and serviced in a timely manner is huge,” says Smith.
And speaking of time, Samsung and Dacor offer refrigerators with cameras inside so that homeowners can check what they need when they are out grocery shopping.
“If you can’t remember whether you need milk or eggs, you can remote into the interior of your fridge to see,” says Smith.
As far as outdoor products, Lynx Smart Grills have no controls on the front. Instead, temperature is set through the app. They also have a Wi-Fi compatible smoker that uses wood chips and keeps track of temperature, whether you’re smoking ribs, chicken breast, or a whole turkey.
These smart appliances enable homeowners to utilize products that in the past may have only served to confuse them.
“It’s amazing how many people have had a convection oven for 20 years and didn’t use it because they didn’t know how,” says Smith. “They had this incredible technology in their home but didn’t know what to do with it!”
With smart appliances, homeowners just have to tell the app what it is they want to do. Then the app will select the method for the best result and deliver step-by-step instructions.
Visit the Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, & Lighting Gallery located at 1057 E. 54th Street, Suite A in Indianapolis to see how smart technology can make your life more convenient and a little less crazy. Call 317-253-1569 to schedule an appointment or visit Ferguson.com to learn more.