August 23, 2012 report
Panasonic hands control of home appliances to Android phones
(Phys.org)—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.
Panasonic 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 home appliances 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 energy savings 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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