“In the smart home, Miele appliances can make an important contribution to the energy transition”

Interview with Dr Reinhard Zinkann, Co-Proprietor and Executive Director of the Miele Group

Dr Zinkann, Miele keeps surprising us with unique applications for the smart home. What innovations can we look forward to this year?

Essentially three innovations: We are in talks with Google to establish the Google Assistant as a new partner for the voice control of our devices. Shopping for consumer goods will become much more convenient with our new In-App Shop, and we will show how networked household appliances can be used even more sustainably via intelligent energy management.

What do you think will prevail, operating the appliances via an app, or using a voice assistant?

Both options have their strengths and therefore their justification. The Miele App has an advantage when I use a tablet or smartphone to prepare recipes step-by-step. Or when I want to order accessories and consumables from Miele. From autumn, this will be much more convenient in our new In-App Shop, where over 1,000 items are available to choose from and can be ordered with just a few clicks without being redirected to another platform. 

What are the advantages of voice control?

For example, when I hold a baking tray in my hands and the oven door opens on call. Freely programmable routines are also very interesting: I tell the voice assistant “I’m leaving the house” and the coffee machine switches off, the alarm system is activated and the Miele Scout RX 3 robot vacuum starts working automatically. 

Which partner does Miele rely on for voice control?

Miele appliances have been communicating with Amazon Alexa for years. There is now a huge repertoire of very practical and convenient applications. In the coming months, Miele will be working closely with Google, adding with Google Assistant a second partner to make voice control even more attractive to the owners of Miele domestic appliances worldwide.

smart energy management system
Boosting eco-balance and economical in operation: Connecting Miele domestic appliances to a smart energy management system optimises use of “home-grown” solar power. (Photo: KB3-stock.adobe.com)

At the beginning, you mentioned the particularly sustainable use of domestic appliances. What is this all about?

I would like to briefly explain why sustainability is so important to us. As you may know, Miele is pursuing an ambitious sustainability strategy, which is also expressed in our new brand campaign “Quality ahead of its time”. In the coming years, we will be implementing many measures to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in all areas. However, our customers can also make a contribution to the energy transition with their Miele appliances.

Can you please explain?

The keyword is “Smart Home Integration” and opens opportunities for owners of photovoltaic systems in particular to make optimum use of their self-generated electricity with the aid of intelligent energy management.

The functional principle behind this: Miele domestic appliances and other electricity consumers are connected to an intelligent energy manager. In the morning, the user loads the washing machine, dryer or dishwasher and specifies a time by which, for example, the laundry must be finished. The Miele appliances then transmit the selected programme, the expected running time and the estimated power requirement to the energy manager. The energy manager is also aware of the requirements of other components, for example, it knows that the electric car is charging and automatically starts the washing process if sufficient solar power is available. If not enough self-generated electricity is available during the course of the day, washing is done using power from the grid. In any case, it is ensured that the green electricity has been used optimally, which is more economical and ecologically more sensible than feeding it into the grid of the energy supplier.

But that doesn’t make sense for all household appliances, does it?

All networkable Miele appliances can be integrated into the scenario described, with automatic appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers being predestined, because with these products it is less relevant when the process runs, but rather when it should be completed. For the evening dinner with the family, on the other hand, such a scenario is probably less relevant.  

What are the technical requirements for Smart Home Integration?

Smart Home Integration is based on the Miele Cloud Interface (3rd party API), via which Miele appliances exchange data with the energy manager. There are various providers of energy management systems on the market that harmonise with the Miele technology. The technical documentation for the Miele Cloud Interface is published on the website miele.com/developer/.  

Photo – top of page: Dr Reinhard Zinkann, Co-Proprietor and Executive Director of the Miele Group

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