GE Appliances announced Tuesday a collaboration with Amazon Alexa that brings voice-control functionality to GE's connected appliances including refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry machines, and water heaters.
In a nutshell, GE built an Alexa skill, dubbed Geneva, that can be integrated directly into its range of household appliances. Once live, users will be able to ask their Alexa-powered Amazon device to tell Geneva a command in order to complete a task.
For instance, one could say, "Alexa, tell Geneva to turn off the oven," or similarly, "Alexa, tell Geneva to set the water to 110 degrees." Geneva then communicates the command to the appliance, and after a little software magic, the job is done.
The basis for Geneva came last year, when Amazon launched the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service SDKs. The aim for Amazon was to enable developers to integrate Alexa into their applications or create new services. Amazon says it now has more than 3,000 Alexa skills available on a bevy of products ranging from lighting systems to Hyundai cars.
"One of our goals with Alexa is to enable voice control on every device within the home, and this collaboration gets us one step closer to achieving that," said Charlie Kindel, director of Amazon Alexa Smart Home.
For GE Appliances, Geneva shows how the company is positioning for its roll in the Internet of Things, particularly the smart home. Earlier this year the appliance maker integrated a handful of its connected appliances with If This Then That, which enabled basic aspects of voice connectivity and compatibility with IoT platforms.
"Voice connectivity has a big role in the Internet of Things, as well as in the home," said Liz VerSchure, vice president responsible for GE Appliances connected strategy. "Integrating our connected appliances with Alexa will help make consumers' lives easier, more productive and a little more fun."
Starting today, consumers who currently own a GE Wi-Fi connected appliance have automatic access to the voice activation features via the Alexa app. GE Appliances says it currently has more than 70 products that are connectable to Alexa.