LG and Samsung have taken the lead with the development of smart appliances, leaving many folks wondering when US based corporations will jump in.  To LG and Samsung’s benefit, the Korean manufacturers are well established in the smartphone and tablet industries allowing them a large advantage with pre-existing infrastructures to support connected appliances. So who’s next? Whirlpool appears to be the first big player to jump in head first.

Whirlpool launched its 6th Sense Live Technology, marking the first major step in the Smart Appliance market from a US manufacturer. Currently available exclusively in the Chicagoland area at Abt Electronics, the suite of smart appliances are developed to communicate with a free app called mysmartappliances, available now in the iTunes app store.  Included in the new lineup of products are a smart refrigerator, smart dishwasher, and smart washer and dryer. Each appliance has the ability to be controlled using an app and will communicate with a Smart Grid.

The mysmartappliances app will enable consumers to connect to their homes with Smart Assistance features such as Vacation Assistant, Remote Start/Pause, and alerts and text messages to let them when their detergent is running low or when their water filter needs replacing.  Taking it one step further, consumers will also be able to monitor which cycle their laundry is on and delay, stop, restart, or refresh if need be. The only thing that seems to be missing is a handy option to sort, toss clothes into the dryer, and fold once the laundry is done.

Whirlpool may be one of the most recognizable US appliance manufacturers known, headquartered in Benton Harbor Michigan. The company is listed in Fortune 500 and has an annual revenue of approximately $18.4 billion, more than 70,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and research centers worldwide.  What many people may not know is that Whirlpool also owns Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana and Electrolux, leading the corporation to become ‘the largest home appliance maker in the world’.

 Whirlpool launched its first automatic washing machine in 1950. During the course of 63 years of development and product launches, Whirlpool (and competing brands) have maintained relative consistency with design and core function.  While basic design hasn’t changed drastically, what has evolved is technological developments towards a more efficient and ecological product.  With the convergence of technology with everyday household tasks, appliances continue to evolve to optimize energy consumption and allow consumers to manage chores from their smartphones.

As our connected homes continue to progress, manufacturers are responding in a more meaningful way to allow us to save time, energy, and money even when away from our homes.  The arrival of Whirlpool in the smart appliance segment indicates a continued growth which is sure to filtrate throughout the industry both nationally and globally.  Whirlpool’s 6th Sense appliances are expected to debut in additional retailers nationwide towards the end of 2013.