Smart kitchen appliances are gaining steam – making the kitchen not only the heart of the home but it’s brain-centre too. We speak to Liam Gawne, from Miele South Africa, about this fascinating and rapidly developing kitchen trend.
04 September 2020, Johannesburg: At last year’s Intelligent Living Summit, it was estimated that the number of sensors and devices connected to the Internet of Thing (IoT) is expected to increase from 21-billion in 2018, to about 125-billion worldwide in 2030. This equates to a year-on-year growth of a whopping 8,7-billion. What is driving this incredible appetite for smart kitchen appliances? The answer: the fact that smart appliances are maximise energy efficiency, and they are easier and more convenient to use – essentially, saving the user time, and ensuring perfect results time and again.
Says Liam Gawne from leading kitchen appliance manufacturer, Miele: “Customers no longer regard Smart Home devices as toys, but increasingly expect intelligent solutions that offer real added value. In this field, Miele’s focus is, and always has been, dedicated to not only developing and manufacturing outstanding appliances, but to also create inspiring experiences for their users. Experiences that are both time-saving, and truly helpful. To this end, our focus is not on creating clever gadgets, but rather, it is squarely placed on providing customer benefits, with simple application being the ultimate goal.”
He outlines just some of the smart features inherent in Miele’s range of high-end appliances that are geared for optimum Smart Living convenience:
Hobs: Even budding chefs sometimes find it difficult to create the perfect steak – rare, medium or well done. With CookAssist – a smart application on all Miele’s induction hobs with TempControl – such challenges have become a thing of the past. Liam explains: “To prepare the perfect steak for example, all the user needs to do is to enter how they would like their steak to be cooked on a smartphone or tablet. When the integrated sensor detects that the temperature has reached 200°C, a precise point that is indicated both optically and acoustically by the hob unit and the smartphone, the meat is placed in the pan. Then, the steak will need to be turned when prompted by the app … and voilà, there’s your perfect steak: cooked to perfection.” Of course, he says that CookAssist can provide similar support with numerous other dishes, too – ensuring consistently perfect results.
Coffee machines: A perfect espresso needs a good bean and optimum machine settings. This fine-tuning is where Miele’s BaristaAssistant technology comes to the fore, notes Liam: “This is an application that takes the coffee aficionado through the beverage preparation process, allowing for adjustments to suit personal preferences. In the first stage, the Miele CVA 7000 prepares two different espressos for a taste comparison. The favourite goes on to the next round of sampling where settings are increasingly finely tuned. After up to four taste comparison rounds, a personal favourite will have been created, which is used as a basis for future beverage preparation. This process is unique as it goes far beyond simply modifying individual parameters using an app. Instead, it represents an entire process of elimination for achieving the optimal personalised espresso.”
Laundry care: With AddLoad and Wash2Dry technologies, Miele has successfully made laundry care even smarter and more convenient. AddLoad is a technology that indicates when items of laundry can be added to a programme that is already running via the Miele@mobile app. Liam says: “Interestingly, adding laundry is possible even in the advanced stages of a wash cycle and not, as so often presumed, only within the first minutes of a programme. If there is an item that needs to be added, the machine can be quickly and easily stopped using the Miele@mobile app.” After washing, the clean laundry will be transferred to the tumble dryer, and Liam notes that with Miele’s Wash2Dry technology, the dryer can automatically select the appropriate drying programme in anticipation of incoming laundry: “This feature does not even require the Miele@mobile app, as washing machine and tumble dryer are able to automatically communicate with one another via the home’s own WiFi network.”
Ovens: Ovens have gone from strength to strength with regards to Smart technology – making great strides with the inclusion of smart features that make cooking and baking a synch. Miele’ Generation 7000 range of ovens are packed with a variety of interesting and useful smart features. One notable feature includes a built-in camera that delivers true-colour images in HD quality to a smartphone or tablet during the cooking process. “With just one click, users can check on their dish via their screen and readjust the cooking process if necessary,” comments Liam. Another interesting smart feature is Miele’s TasteControl, which ensures that food doesn’t dry out or become overcooked when baking or roasting for extended periods.
Liam explains: “Imagine that the oven indicates that a fillet of beef has reached the desired core temperature of 65°C and switches off automatically. For whatever reason, if you were not able to remove the roast from the oven at that exact time, the fillet would remain in the hot oven cavity and continue to cook – inevitably becoming dry and tough. With TasteControl however, this annoyance is a thing of the past. To prevent the overcooking of your food, as soon as the oven indicates that the dish is done, TasteControl ensures that the oven door opens slightly so that the cooling fan can expel the hot air. Within five minutes, the temperature in the oven drops by around 100°C, before the oven door closes again. In conjunction with the ‘Keep Warm’ function, the oven temperature can then be reduced to the required level so as not to overcook your food, but merely keep it warm.”
Extractors: Miele’s cookerhoods have always been smart, as they have had built-in technology that allows them to communicate with the Miele hob below and automatically adjust the extraction to suit what is being cooked. However, Miele’s cookerhoods now boast WifiConn@ct technology that makes them network-enabled, explains Liam: “WifiConn@ct significantly enhances the features of Miele cookerhoods as it allows them to be directly integrated into the Miele@mobile app, which enables users to know the status of their appliances via their smartphone or tablet. With MobileControl you can select the desired appliance and choose a programme. The appliances can also be started and stopped conveniently, regardless of location.”
Vacuum cleaners: Vacuum cleaners have also become smart, such as Miele’s Scout RX2 robovac for example, which is web-enabled and can be controlled using an app. Says Liam: “Using the Miele@mobile app, the RX2 can be started from anywhere, its current status called up, and its timer programmed. In map mode, for instance, cleaning progress can be tracked. It is even possible to manually control the robovac using the app, for instance to guide it to particularly heavily trafficked areas. The high-end Scout RX2 Home Vision model offers an exciting and eminently useful additional function. In this case, the robovac’s camera image is relayed live to a tablet or smartphone. This not only allows its owner to track where it is currently performing its duties; it also allows a remote view of the home to check if everything is OK at any time: Did I close the patio door? What is the dog up to? Is there an unwanted visitor in the home? This and much more is never more than a few clicks away, allowing access ‘on the fly’, from the office, the supermarket, a party or from on holiday. All data is reliably protected as images are encrypted before they are sent and only decrypted on arrival (end-to-end encryption).”
Voice control: Investing in an Amazon Echo and Alexa Voice Service will now allow you to quickly and conveniently control your kitchen appliances orally. So what is Amazon Echo? It connects to the cloud-based Alexa Voice Service to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, call up the calendar, weather information, traffic reports, and sport results, ask questions, manage to-do lists and shopping lists, and of course, operate compatible smart home appliances like your Miele@mobile appliances.
Liam elaborates: “You can use your voice to check the status of your appliances or ask for information. The new voice control feature in Miele’s new range of smart appliances makes multi-tasking a breeze – play with the kids, and keep everything in your household under control at the same time.” He goes on to add that from the utility room to the kitchen, more and more, Miele appliances are being hooked up to Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa: “These include applications which, once used, consumers will not want to be without. On ovens from the new handleless ArtLine series, Alexa opens the door when prompted (highly practical when you are standing in front of the oven with a full oven dish in your hands), tells you how long the washing machine in the utility room still has to run, starts the dishwasher with AutoDos and PowerDisk, switches the cooker hood off or uses Alexa Show to present the recipe of the week, and the list goes on. It truly revolutionises the way we interact with appliances on a daily basis.”