Whirlpool / Nokia link

Internet-enabled kettles, freezers and washing machines have moved a step closer to reality after Nokia and Whirlpool announced that they are to cooperate in the development of networked home appliances.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 12, 2000

Internet-enabled kettles, freezers and washing machines have moved a step closer to reality after Nokia and Whirlpool announced that they are to cooperate in the development of networked home appliances.

The two companies plan to jointly evaluate the possibilities of bringing new innovations to the domestic electronics market, such as allowing you to email your dishwasher to tell it to start its cleaning cycle.

US-based Whirlpool have already developed prototypes of Internet-linked fridges and ovens. Neither have any commercial release date at present, but it is hoped that the new partnership will help to pave their way into peoples’ homes.

By working with Nokia, Whirlpool hope to improve the quality of the wireless technology used in their products.

Universal Plug & Play

“This is a wireless solution, and that increases the breadth of our networking options,” said Sarah Brady, spokeswoman at Whirlpool’s European headquarters.

In January Whirlpool signed similar agreements with Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems, concentrating on the computer systems involved. The American company also joined the Universal Plug and Play forum (UPnP) Forum, the Microsoft-backed group aimed at developing links between PCs and other household devices.

Internet-enabled fridges could allow the appliance to re-order food stuffs when they run low, meaning supplies would constantly be delivered to your home.

LG recently announced that is about to start selling a web-ready fridge. Equipped with two flat-panel screens the Internet Digital DIOS Refrigerator can be used to surf the web and make phone calls, but as yet is not ready to buy your milk for you.

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