Panasonic hands control of home appliances to Android phones

Aug 23, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(—In a cloud-service announcement this week, Panasonic is placing the smartphone into the center of devices for cooking and washing in the home, to be used in conjunction with Panasonic compatible home appliances. The consumer electronics company has launched its own Panasonic Smart App to go to work in Japan. To use the software, it is necessary to become a member of the "Club Panasonic." The Panasonic Smart App will allow Android smartphone owners hooking up the club to control their smart home appliances just by downloading the free app to their smartphones.

plans to release first the refrigerator app next month and the other five appliances in October or later. Panasonic has no details on when the appliances with their apps will be available elsewhere than just Japan.

The point of the launch is to enable Android users to remotely turn on or control any compatible home appliance. The six are air conditioner, refrigerator, washing/drying machine, body composition meter, activity meter and blood-pressure meter.

Do consumers really want to go to lengths of checking and measuring exactitude in cooking, washing, and storing foods? Or will they see this as an added layer of complexity they can do without? Signs are that Panasonic is tapping further into the market base of people eager for smarter control and customization of home tasks for clean-energy and power-saving cost cuts. In June, Panasonic started its cloud services for a microwave oven and steam rice cooker. Owners take their Android smartphones to look for recipes and program cooking instructions.-

In the new lineup, the benefits are promoted as being able to monitor and possibly cut energy costs. The washing machine app lets the user set the washing cycle with the smartphone. When the phone touches the machine, appropriate amounts of the detergent and softener calculated from the amount of laundry are displayed on the screen of the machine. When the user drops detergent in the machine, amounts are displayed on the screen.

Refrigerator data displayed on a smartphone can check for power consumption efficiency. Collected data is sent to the server. Air conditioner users can control their air conditioners remotely from outside the home.

The new service will also allow owners of Panasonic healthcare products to create graphs tracking their weight and calories consumed by everyday activities. The point is to make it easy to manage healthcare data.

"Panasonic's smart solutions are designed to make the user's everyday life more comfortable, convenient and energy efficient," said the company announcement released earlier this week.

The appliances affected include Panasonic's X Series room air conditioners, a top-mount refrigerator, drum-type washer-dryer ,body composition monitor, calorie meter and blood pressure monitor.

The new air conditioners will also work with Apple's iPhones as well as Android phones.

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User comments : 7

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3.5 / 5 (6) Aug 23, 2012
You know what I want my smartphone to control? Lights, television, door locks, windows, window shades, heat/AC...

You know what I don't care/don't want my smartphone to control? Everything they are saying that this will (with the exception of the AC).

3 / 5 (2) Aug 23, 2012
Judging by the phrase "cloud-service", these APIs can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This could end up being pretty wasteful:

Hackers might be able to turn off your refrigerator for fun while you're on vacation.

It might even be possible to cause a house fire with the APIs.

I wonder if it would be possible to create a brownout by hacking into tens of thousands of washing machines in an area and turning them all on simultaneously.

The risks seem to outweigh the listed benefits.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 23, 2012
Will the phone also put my clothes in the washer/drier for me?
5 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2012
I won't be buying Panasonic smart appliances unless I can access them from any web enabled device, including my laptop and desktop machines.
4 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2012
I think it is pretty cool that I can now use my smartphone to record programs at home on my video recorder!
4 / 5 (4) Aug 24, 2012
Do I really care how much energy my fridge is using at any given moment? NO. In fact that might work against them, the way it did for LG many years ago. I agree with DC on this one, give me light control.
Having remote access to my security system would also be awesome.
not rated yet Aug 31, 2012
Light control has been available for years. It's something called an X-10 protocol.

Why can't they just make a washing machine that has a delay so you can run it in the middle of the night when the energy is cheap?

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