You’re going to hear a lot about smart appliances this year, but a big part of what makes them smart is connecting them to a home control network. You don’t necessarily need a smart grid connection with your local utility.
At this week’s CES, attendeeds are seeing how Sub-Zero refrigerators, Wolf ovens and Sub-Zero wine storage units can be integrated into Control4’s home networks, so homeowners can manage their appliances through a Control4 system.
Through the Control4 system, homeowners can program Sub-Zero freezers and refrigerators to maximize energy efficiency by automatically setting ice-making production and other energy-intensive functions to lower levels at different times of the day. Homeowners can also automatically adjust settings to accommodate specific lifestyle needs, such as increasing ice production prior to entertaining large numbers of guests. Users have the option to receive alerts that allow them to manage and monitor the energy usage of the appliances. Homeowners can even send energy deferral requests or general service requests through their Control4 system directly to Sub-Zero and Wolf.
When integrating select Wolf products into their Control4 system, homeowners can be notified when pre-heat is complete, view the current oven temperature, receive alerts when the timer is almost finished, and access meat temperature from the internal meat thermometer.
With the Control4 platform, Sub-Zero wine storage unit owners can monitor their unit’s door status and even receive-mail or text message alerts when a door opens or closes. Because temperature and humidity are critical elements to storing the perfect bottle of wine, collectors are assured that their wine unit door has been properly shut and air is not entering or exiting. These alerts also provide a new level of monitoring should anyone enter the wine unit without permission.
The connections with Control4’s IP (Internet Protocol)-based networks are through wireless ZigBee technology and info relays by Card Access, along with software drivers.
“We are still at very early stages in the advent of connected appliances,” says Glen Mella, president and chief operating officer of Control4. “You’re starting to see companies put out products that are ZigBee or Z-Wave-enabled. [Z-Wave is a wireless technology rival to ZigBee.] We have put the technology between the wall and the appliance.”
Addition (1-6-11): We are told that “E Series oven units and Built-In units are compatible with Control4.”
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates