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Video, Photos: GE Demos Smart Appliances

Updated: As we reported last week, GE (s GE) has been trialling its smart appliances — dishwashers, microwaves and other devices embedded with communications technology — in 15 homes in Louisville, Ky., as part of an effort to launch a smart product line later this year. Curious about what those smart devices look like? GE has made a video to show off some of the appliances, including a hybrid heat pump water heater, a fridge, an oven range, a laundry dryer and a dishwasher (Update: Video restored. The video isn’t working for now, so here’s some photos of the appliances from the video, until we get it sorted out).

Don’t be scared by the funky neon lighting exposed on the devices (the cut-away on the left panel of the fridge or the gaping hole on the heater). Those are for the demo only, Kim Freeman, PR manager for GE Consumer & Industrial, explained to us. Freeman tells us it’s “hard to ‘show’ how these demand response appliances will work without some sort of cut-away, since from the outside they look like normal appliances we have in our homes today.”


The appliances power down to three different levels of power, GE’s Charlie Smith said in a presentation last week, and in the Louisville trial the appliances reacted to the utilities’ signal during the hours of 3pm to 8pm. During that time, some of the appliances, like the dryer, the oven range and the hot water heater (appliances that you would have a hard time convincing users to delay) go into a lower power mode. Other appliances, like the dishwasher, flash the word “eco” during that time to let the user know if they want to use lower-priced electricity they should delay using it until after the peak time.


GE plans to conduct trials like the one in Louisville “all over the U.S“ said Kevin Nolan, VP of technology for GE Consumer & Industrial, in the release. Freeman tells us, “We are talking with utilities all over the U.S. I think we are close to finalizing plans on a few and will make announcements soon.”