AEG is breaking a consumer electronics trend that only connected home products can push innovation, introducing truly inventive appliances at IFA 2018.
And that's not to say they aren't entering the connected home ecosystem as Google Assistant is making it's way to their portfolio of products. What it actually means is that AEG - a division of the Swedish-based Electrolux - is incorporating a host of technologies into the home that builds on the experiences consumers have using their products.
"We launch consumer experiences, not products," said Dan Arler, Head of Major Appliances EMEA at Electrolux. Arler further broke down experiences as something that is low effort, delightful, and inspiring. He used anecdotal evidence that sous-vide cooking should be easy enough for anyone to do it or make vacuuming the house enjoyable.
Which is why AEG has spent a lot of time rethinking the way consumers interact with their kitchen appliances, laundry duties, and cleaning responsibilities.
It was refreshing to see the attention to detail from how AEG considers a consumer's experience in the kitchen. In the past, AEG has introduced solutions such as SpinView (a lazy susan inspired fridge shelf) and CustomFlex (a modular way to quickly reorganize shelves.) That improved the functionality of the kitchen in a tangible way that anyone could appreciate which seems to be a core value for the Germany-founded brand.
Inspired by that, AEG announced three additions to their line of induction SenseCook induction stovetops dubbed the SenseFry, SenseBoil, and SensePro.
The SenseFry is a cooktop that can use the SenseCook to bring pan frying to specific temperatures, avoiding burnt food. Using a built-in touchscreen display, the SenseCook can set and keep the top to any degree or bring it to the "perfect" temperature based on what you are cooking to avoid undercooking or burning food. SenseBoil is a bit more obvious as it can detect when water begins to boil and bring it to a controlled simmer. It may not seem like a big deal, but AEG claims that 60% of stovetops are used to boil water so it quickly becomes a necessary focus for any appliance company.
But the SensePro brings a wireless, battery-less food sensor into the mix - something AEG proudly calls a world first. The sensor is accurate to +/- 1-degree fahrenheit for any style of cooking including boiling, stovetop, and sous-vide. The SensePro can also do everything the SenseBoil and SenseFry does meaning the same touchscreen control can cook a steak to any temperature with just one touch.
Cheers for Chores
AEG was also showcasing a new way to think about chores around the house, namely vacuuming and laundry.
Building on their successful line of washer and dryers, AEG wanted to make a frictionless way to clean clothes with confidence. And confidence became a key point of focus as it dovetails into their mantra that the way you interact with your appliances can define the happiness in your home.
Their first announcement came after learning that 64% of consumers check clothes care instructions and about half feel confident in correctly washing them. That's where the 3DScan technology in their AEG TD9000 comes into play.
“Our insights show that predominantly people only use their tumble dryer to dry cotton
items such as their bedlinen and towels.” says Karina Moreira – Product Marketing
Director, Electrolux Laundry EMEA. “We want to change this so that people can have
confidence and dare to dry most items in their wardrobe."
Anecdotally, Arler noted that the "towel-ball" that makes it's way into a dryer come wash day can be the hardest bit of clothing to get dry. However, 3DScan technology can not only diversify what kind of fabric it is washing and drying, it reads humidity on the surface of the garments to give an accurate dry. Combined with an AutoDose feature that removes the calculated doses that keep whites bright and colors vibrant. Of course, it has an option to manually dose if you are the confident outlier.
AEG also released the FX9, which seems to double-down on removing vacuum paint points, not introduce any ground-breaking technologies. The wireless handheld vacuum has a flexible main to shift the position of unit, that can convert into a pull-out hand-held hose for under furniture. Suction power is monitored and automatically adjusted based on surface and it can stand upright in any position.
At the end of the day, what AEG is doing is still inspired by A.I., machine learning, and other common narratives floating around the industry. However, the ability to really use that in a tangible way and give their consumers a truly different experience separates them from the pack. It's not about pushing Google into a product or adding more touch interfaces, it's about creating an experience that begins to feel familiar but results in something extraordinary. It's about creating new foods making weekend chores exciting again.
AEG has promised to change the way we experience the home and have hit a home-run with their line of hardware innovations.