Courtesy of Miele

Using the homeowner’s wireless network to notify the manufacturer if something goes wrong with the appliance, Miele now offers RemoteVision on its refrigerators. The notification includes the code for the fault type, and the company then calls or e-mails the customer to describe the problem and to schedule a service call, if needed.

Lori Dolnick, vice president of Frank Advertising and spokesperson for Miele USA, says the technology is similar to OnStar by GM for cars. The RemoteVision service is free, but users must register the appliance to activate it.

Many RemoteVision fault notifications are due to user issues, which can easily be resolved over the phone. The service reduces user frustration, Dolnick says, and cuts down on service calls.

Some faults are related to blocked water lines or power failure. Notifications about such faults are especially helpful to vacation-home owners.

At the end of 2008, Miele expanded RemoteVision to dishwashers and large-capacity washers and dryers. But, unlike the refrigerators, these appliances don’t have the module built in. Owners must buy it for $349. Dolnick says the RemoteVision data will help Miele track trends and upgrade its products.