A new development for smart speakers could help to prevent fires in UK homes. The add on, compatible with Google Home and Alexa, will inform users, when prompted, if a manufacturer has issued a product recall.
The response rate to electrical product recalls in the UK is typically low mainly due to products not being registered , meaning many faulty appliances go undetected in millions of homes across the country, as consumers unknowingly use potentially hazardous appliances.
Users can instruct their speaker to open the Electrical Safety First app and will then be able to ask “Hey Google, has my washing machine been recalled?” The smart speaker will then ask them for the brand name and inform users if any recall has been issued for that brand, prompting them to act.
Developed by Electrical Safety First, the smart speaker tool is just one way in which the charity is using smart tech to reduce the risk of electrical fires in people’s homes.
The launch of the tool comes as new analysis by the Charity reveals fires caused by faulty washing machines in England have hit a five year high with 517 reported fires recorded last year. Home Office data shows that since 2015/16 washing machine fires caused by faulty appliances and leads have increased by 15%.
The charity hopes that by using smart tech, consumers will be more inclined to check their appliances, which will have a big impact on improving recalls.
A survey of more than 2000 UK adults carried out by the charity found that the ability to be able to ask their smart audio speaker about a product recall had a positive impact on engagement. Of those surveyed nearly 90% said they would be more inclined to check their appliances for a recall if they could do so using a smart speaker.
Says Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First:
“Smart technology has the ability to do so much more than just tell us what the weather is like, it can also help to keep us safer in our homes. Our latest tool for smart speakers will inform users if a manufacturer has issued a product recall in seconds and prompt them to take action. With millions of smart speakers in homes we hope to weaponise smart tech to help protect people and their homes from electrical fires.”
The Charity has also launched a smartphone app, currently available on iOs with an Android version coming later in the year. This will allow users to search for recall information and also direct them to register electrical products, providing another “smart” option for staying safe in the home.