General Electric may have a host of smart appliances in the works, but looks like one Indesit may beat it to the punch -- at least on the washing machine front. The Italian home appliance firm just unveiled a ZigBee-compatible washer at the Freescale Technology Forum in Florida this week, capable of communicating with the smart grid and then timing its loads according to variable electricity cost. We can't find a single detail beyond that, except that it uses one of Freescale's ZigBee radio chips, and that this particular washer appears to be destined for Indesit's Hotpoint-Ariston label with the company's Aqualtis auto-detergent dosage technology built right in. We can tell you're on the edge of your seat. No word on pricing or availability, and no, we don't know if it will tweet when your load is done. Press release after the break.
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Freescale and Indesit Collaborate on Smart Appliance Solutions for ZigBee® Connected White Goods
Indesit's Wireless Smart Washer Presented During Freescale's Technology Forum in Orlando
AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Freescale Semiconductor and Indesit Company recently demonstrated their ability to help their customers create "smart" products by showcasing a Smart Washer that can regulate its own energy use based on cost and availability at the Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando, Fla.
"Working closely with Indesit – a leading producer of industrial white goods – underscores Freescale's leadership in a broad array of wireless communications targeting the smart grid and energy efficiency"
The Indesit Company's Smart Washer, equipped with a Freescale ZigBee® node, is able to adjust its cycle starting time according to energy cost (in a variable costs environment) and green power availability, getting this information from the local utility via a ZigBee enabled Internet connection to the Smart Grid. The Indesit Company is a leading European manufacturer and distributor of major domestic appliances.
The Freescale-Indesit collaboration is further evidence of the Smart Grid focus of both companies. Freescale's ZigBee technology helps designers to reduce design complexity, lower bill of material costs and deliver high performance solutions to help appliance customers build ZigBee connected smart houses.
"Working closely with Indesit – a leading producer of industrial white goods – underscores Freescale's leadership in a broad array of wireless communications targeting the smart grid and energy efficiency," said Brett Black, Wireless Connectivity manager at Freescale.
"We are pleased to team up with Freescale on our products using their technology," said Stefano Frattesi, Indesit Company's Innovation for Design manager. "The Smart Washer confirms our commitment to innovation for the benefit of the environment and demonstrates our pioneering research in the field of Smart Grid to help reduce energy consumption and provide our customers increasingly innovative solutions."
Freescale was one of the first companies to join the ZigBee Alliance and provides platform solutions supporting ZigBee Smart Energy, RF4CE, Healthcare and Home Automation. Freescale continues to invest in energy efficient technology for the Smart Grid, allowing its customers to address the increasing demand of energy smart control.
Indesit recently launched two projects focused on leveraging the Smart Grid to make its products more energy efficient. The first is a global program for domestic trials of intelligent refrigerators with Indesit's Dynamic Demand Control technology, which is capable of managing consumption on the basis of grid availability. The second is Energy@home, a research project that will experiment with a system of home appliance interconnections designed to optimize energy consumption.
For more information on Freescale's ZigBee technology, go to www.freescale.com/zigbee. For more information on Indesit's Smart Washer or Smart Grid programs, go to www.indesitcompany.com.