At PlanetPTC Live: Whirlpool is thinking straight

I just spent a few days at PlanetPTC Live in Orlando Fla. As usual on a business trip, most of the time was spent in freezing conference rooms, but I did get a few good whiffs of the fruit-scented sunshiny air here -- wonderful!

It was interesting to note that PTC has added service and software as artifacts to be managed in its well-known PLM system, Windchill. This struck me as a major game-changer in the PLM world.

One PTC customer seemed very forward thinking in its strategy: Whirlpool. The largest home appliance maker is now building smart appliances that will connect to the smart grid. This will let its customers do things like, while on a trip, check to make sure that the stove is, in fact, off or that the refrigerator door is closed tightly. This capability will also let consumers see for themselves and regulate the cost per cycle of their washing machines, which will both save them money as well as save the Utility grid by reducing peak demand cycles. In other words, the machine can be operated at the optimal time to save energy.

Whirlpool is just about to get these into the market and says to do so took major changes in adding a lot of software to appliances and changing the existing firmware. The company is to start what it calls its Whirlpool Connected Appliance Platform. Users will register for the service and then be able, for instance, to monitor their appliances from their smartphones.

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