Smart technology in home appliances is the big theme at this year's IFA (an annual global consumer technology show), and cleaning appliances are no exception.
Robot vacuums that can be viewed and controlled from anywhere are already here. Scan your washing, and your connected laundry appliances can recommend and apply the correct wash parameters such as detergent dosing, start your wash before you get home and even re-order detergent for you. Meanwhile, the robot mower will be outside taking care of the lawn.
Fast washing machines
Samsung has showcased its new QuickDrive washing machine which consists of a large main drum with a separate plate at the back that moves independently to decrease time required and increase efficiency. Sharp has a washer/dryer that claims to wash and dry up to 0.5kg in 29 minutes, and up to 2kg in one hour, whereas Beko states that its new machine will wash and dry up to 5kg in less than three hours.
Futuristic stain removal
The latest technology now looks set to help with stain removal in your laundry. The AEG Ultrasonic Stain Remover Pen, when used with water and detergent, sends tiny vibrations through fibres to loosen stains particle by particle so they are more easily removed when washed (apparently). My AEG app care advisor for laundry says it removes the need for consumers to "google" the meaning of care labels. By selecting clothing and fabric type, colour, and level of cleaning through a smart device, the machine will apply the recommended washing and/or drying cycle. Siemens and Bosch use a wand they call the 'X-pect scanner' to detect stains and fabric types, and adjust wash parameters accordingly. Miele stain removal assistant using the Miele@mobile app lets the user photograph the stain and an unsoiled area of the fabric, enter the type of fabric and colour, and the app will suggest the appropriate wash cycle.
Never run out of detergent again
Both clothes and dishwashers are utilising smart technology to make sure you never run out of detergent. Combined with auto-dosing capabilities, companies including Beko, Miele, Bosch, Siemens and Haier have Amazon Dash support which will automatically re-order detergent when stocks are running low.
Miele also spoke about their BlueHorizon washing machine rental model. Specialist dealers broker the rental contract and deliver and install a high-end washing machine with automatic TwinDos detergent dispensing. The detergents are shipped to customers to replenish depleted stocks. If required, even service constitutes part of the package deal. It's an interesting idea, particularly for shared living arrangements and such, but it's unclear if it will make it to our shores in the near future.
The Haier Super Drum or Hisense Triple washer washing machines may be worth a look if space in your laundry is at premium. With a depth of only 46cm, the Haier Super Drum washer/dryer has a 10kg washing and 6kg drying capacity, and the Hisense Triple washer possesses a regular washer below and two 1kg washers on top.
Hoover and Samsung had new stick-vacuums on display with claims of superior suction and battery life, Robot vacs were plentiful, including the 3D Sensor model from Electrolux that, as the name suggests, senses in 3D, giving it much more intelligent spatial awareness.
A fun display from LG was its new Robot mower, and with the amount of lawn in Australia, I'm looking forward to seeing if this type of product takes hold. But Australians show no sign of giving up their petrol and battery mowers in a hurry; Husqvarna's Automower has been here for years and hasn't taken over our gardens yet.
What is IFA?
IFA (or Internationale Funkausstellung – International Radio Exhibition) is an annual event held at the Berlin Exhibition grounds in Berlin that showcases the latest products and innovations in global consumer technology. It's a key meeting place for manufacturers, retailers, buyers and experts from both industry and media. With over 1800 exhibitors spread over 159,000 square metres of floor space, it is simply astounding in size and scope.
My mission here, on behalf of CHOICE, is to report on new product innovations and capture market trends of relevance to Australian consumers.