Lots of Amazon Echo owners love having the smart speaker in their kitchens. They can set a time just by asking Alexa or convert measurements without pulling out a smartphone. Today, GE announced that it is harnessing the power of Alexa to help you control your Wi-Fi-enabled appliances.
The new skill, called Geneva, will allow you to preheat the oven by saying, “Alexa, ask Geneva to preheat the oven to 450.” (Yes, it’s a bit like when you were mad at a friend in grade school: “Sherri, can you ask Terri to pass me the burnt sienna crayon? I’m not speaking to her today. She knows what she did!”)
Alexa will also sync with smart dishwashers, laundry machines, and fridges in the connected Monogram, Café, and Profile machines. You’ll be able to find out if your laundry is done without leaving the couch and will also be able to get an update on how many detergent pods you have left. And if you have the fridge with the built-in Keurig, you can use your Echo, Tap, Dot, or Fire TV to ask Geneva to make you a cup of coffee.
In order to get your machines working with Alexa, you’ll need to go to the Skill Store and enable the Geneva skill.
A lot of people thought making Wi-Fi-enabled appliances was putting the cart before the horse, but this is one example where the dormant ability is actually worth waiting for. It might not be a reason to run out and replace your washer, but this development does offer an indication that the smart home is starting to grow up.
With the addition of Geneva and the new Food Network skill, Alexa actually has over 3,000 skills. Food Network fans can get information about the channel’s show times, and that skill will also deliver whatever recipe the Barefoot Contessa is making to your email inbox if you ask. Hopefully that skill will get more robust as time goes by, and will start giving you help and hints as you actually use the recipes.