Realising the Fully Connected Home

Miele boss says a common standard is the route to seamless home connectivity

The fully connected home in which products from different manufacturers can be controlled seamlessly is up to a decade away, according to Dr Reinhard Zinkann, Miele’s Executive Director and Co-Proprietor.

“There is no joint standard; to have a real connected home you need to have one standard to be able to control everything from your alarm system and lights to your oven and washing machine,” he said.
“There are still a few pieces of the puzzle missing,” the Miele boss added. “It’s very difficult to predict when a joint standard will be available. Looking at the speed that things have changed in the last five years, my gut feeling is five to 10 years, but it may well be faster.”
Dr Zinkann, who is also a Member of the Board of ZVEI and President of CECED, explained that all appliances should be able to be controlled by remote control and, therefore, be connected. “A common standard is missing, but I am pretty positive that it will come – the demand for a fully connected home is not the same in all countries of the world,” he said.
Miele has more than 400 appliances that connect in different ways – including a cooker that communicates with the cooker hood, appliances that can be started remotely, or washing machines that detect low detergent levels and then notify the user to order more.
“The future will enable suppliers A, B and C to be connected together using a joint standard,” said Dr Zinkann. “We need to define an industry standard where one signal is received by all the appliances.”

In this vein, BSH Home Appliances, the parent company of Bosch and Siemens, has developed the Home Connect system, which both brands are promoting at IFA.
Olaf Nedorn, Head of Marketing and Communications at Siemens, said: “At IFA 2017, Siemens is showing home appliances being part of an ecosystem of various appliances in one house. We are stepping back a little and saying that home appliances are one part of the whole ecosystem.”
Nedorn believes that consumers increasingly understand the connected world, and is confident that progress is being made – even of a universal connecting platform between brands is missing. “Users can use our appliances using Alexa, a home automation system or our own Home Connect app,” he said.

THE FUTURE WILL ENABLE SUPPLIERS A, B AND C TO BE CONNECTED TOGETHER, USING A JOINT STANDARD

“Home Connect is an open platform, but no other competitor has opted to join it,” Nedorn added. “There might be changes, but up until now manufacturers are doing their own thing”.


Photo: Dr Reinhard Zinkann, Executive Director and Co-Proprietor, Miele