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OTA update failure shows perils of connected home

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

European consumer electronics group Electrolux has highlighted the challenges of over the air updates in the connected home with a problem in Belgium.

A recent update to its AEG KMK968000T connected combination microwave and oven used an incorrect software image intended for a steam oven. This had a different WiFi driver, leaving the microwave unusable.

“An employee manually entered a wrong number, causing a faulty update to be rolled out. That has caused all microwave ovens of this type to stop working in the Benelux,” said the company.

The fix is having to be applied by a visit by a repair technician.

This comes as Electrolux is a founder member of the Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA) and launched the world’s first AI-driven, machine learning connected oven.

The HCA was launched at the CES show in the US in January and includes Samsung Electronics, Haier, GE Appliances, Arçelik, American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning and Trane Residential. It aims to make devices and apps work together across different brands with a focus on consumer safety and data privacy.

“Electrolux is focused on sustainable consumer experience innovation that can help shape living for the better. As the number of connected products continues to grow in homes across the world, the need for cross brand interoperability increases to enable great consumer experiences. This is why we are happy to be part of HCA,” said Ola Nilsson, Electrolux Group CXO.

“Interoperability is a necessity in order for us to drive ease of use and create value for consumers,” adds Electrolux CTO Andrea Corda, who will represent Electrolux on the HCA as a Board Director. “It’s similar to setting protocols, the same way you can use one browser to access any website across the internet. You’ll be able to use one device, be it your phone or your tv, to operate anything from an air purifier to an oven. Within that interoperability, we’ll create another layer to show what Electrolux, or AEG, or Frigidaire can do for you.”

The increased use of connectivity is highlighted by the latest Electrolux oven that uses machine learning to identify food and provide the correct setting for cooking. A picture is taken with a smartphone, and the CamCook app identifies the food, as long as it is one of 20 pre-trained dishes. It then sends the settings to the oven. The industry first element is that the app can also be taught to recognise other dishes and recall the settings next time.

“Enabling consumers to save their favourite dishes and preferred cooking settings in their Electrolux or AEG digital cookbook adds a lot of value to the connected experience of our ovens. In addition, adding visual food recognition with CamCook is setting us apart from the competition, with Electrolux at the forefront when it comes to building innovative digital capabilities to turn consumers into confident cooks,” said Christopher Duncan, Electrolux Category Director, Ovens & Smart Kitchen.

CamCook is now live in the MyAEG Kitchen and MyElectrolux Kitchen Apps in Europe, with plans to roll it out globally.

www.electroluxgroup.com;  www.homeconnectivityalliance.org.

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