If you don’t have an Amazon Echo you might not know that the virtual assistant Alexa has “skills.” Think of it as third-party apps that tap into the power of Alexa without ever needing native support.
General Electric has introduced another step toward the fully connected home with the launch of Geneva, an Alexa “skill” that allows users to control WiFi-enabled GE Monogram, Café and Profile appliances with their voice, using an Amazon Echo, Dot or other device that runs Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant.
Geneva is unique because it is the first skill to integrate Alexa with such a wide range of devices, and also to integrate with appliances.
GE has 70 different models of connected appliances that include refrigerators, ovens, ranges, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and hot water heaters.
You can conveniently ask Alexa if your ice maker is full or tell Alexa to keep your laundry tumbling just to name a few examples. Here’s a full list of commands.
While making hot water for tea with your Café refrigerator from another room is pretty low risk, Geneva won’t let you start boiling a pot of water or broiling a steak with voice commands for safety reasons.
Geneva is also ADA friendly. For example, homeowners with impaired vision can change time settings without having to use the appliance control panel. Similarly, people with mobility issues can effortlessly change the temperature on a hot water heater with just their voice. Even if you’re not impaired, having a temporary disability such as a broken leg can make doing everyday tasks harder. I think the Geneva can be a great way for to get around a temporary injury or adjust to a new life change.
Geneva is not backward compliant. Your appliance must have Wi-Fi for it to communicate with Alexa.
GE says more commands and appliances are to come. Expect to see GE’s wall mount air conditioner soon as a compatible appliance.