Miele has announced its new smart grid ready domestic appliances at IFA 2010. These appliances have been designed to start automatically when electricity is cheapest, offering consumers energy savings. The first two appliances featuring smart-grid functionality will be a washing machine and a tumble dryer. The models can also be fitted with Miele’s gateway communication module, providing access to the appliances through a PC and the ability to monitor electricity rates.

After adding tariff data, the consumer can activate the Smart Start function in the appliance display – once the earliest starting time and the latest finishing time have been programmed in. Once installation is complete, the appliances will automatically run when electricity is cheapest. "Over the coming years, we are likely to see considerable variance in electricity rates in Germany," says Peter Hübinger, Managing Director of Electronic Production at Miele. "With smart grid ready appliances, Miele is offering a highly relevant and future-proof solution."

Miele has also released appliances with intelligent electric controls, which not only display error messages but can contact the owner via the Internet to report problems. The consumer receives an email from the central server, provided they have already registered on Miele’s website to activate the program. This allows for safety away from home, since if an appliance temperature is rising, a prompt notification will be delivered. An email can also remind you to clean the fluff filter in the tumble dryer, or of other possible faults. If servicing is required, the error message information can be sent to the service technician before arriving. This way, they can know ahead of time which problem has occurred and which spare parts are likely to be needed.

In addition to appliances that save energy costs and email you if the fridge door has been left open, an iPhone application called InfoControl Plus allows full control of all Miele appliances at a single glance. Consumers are now able to check up on the status of appliances throughout the home or even remotely control them. The application allows you to switch machines on or off anywhere around the home, but it will not allow you to switch on an oven or steam cooker, or turn off a refrigerator. In addition to the obvious safety advantages, convenience is also an added bonus. The program can also send you messages such as when the roast needs basting, or if the dryer is ready to be unloaded. You can also see the added attraction of being able to monitor appliances in homes of the elderly.

The new app will be available as a download from the AppStore and can also be used with both Apple's iPod Touch and the iPad. Most appliances from the Miele range can be controlled using InfoControl Plus.