Editors' pick: Originally published Jan. 3.
This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will mark the point in which the smart appliance moves from "nice-to-have," to "must-have" for many homeowners.
In large part, that is a byproduct of more reasonable prices and new technology. For instance, Whirlpool (WHR) has teamed up with Amazon (AMZN) to offer appliances that respond to voice commands via the tech giant's digital assistant Alexa. Consumers can ask Alexa to pause and start Whirlpool washers and dryers, adjust cooking modes on ovens and turn on/off maximum ice and cooling status. The new skill will be available across Whirlpool's connected products early this year.
More broadly, Whirlpool will have 20 new connected appliance models in 2017, most notably in cooking, Jason Mathew, Sr. Director, Global Connected Strategy at Whirlpool Corporation, told TheStreet in an interview. Many of the products, says Mathew, will be priced at less than $1,000.
"For 100 years, consumers have been interacting with our products by turning a knob or pushing a button, but the most natural way is to interact is with voice," said Matthew, adding, "Going forward, people will simply speak and command in order to drive activity."
This is one of Whirlpool's new connected cook-tops
Whirlpool isn't alone in upping its smart appliance game this year.
Samsung will be at CES showcasing ovens and cook-tops that are capable of connecting to Wi-Fi networks. Doing so will give people the ability to start, control and turn their kitchen equipment on or off remotely.