Making the housework easier? There’s an app for that

Peter Kay may have claimed garlic bread was the future. But when it comes to what we’ll be using in our home a few years down the line, smart household appliances may just hold the key.

Home electronics giant Panasonic is currently expanding its smart home appliances range. From as early as next month, customers will be able to operate their appliances remotely.

Just think of the advantages. If you have forgotten to set your dishwasher or washing machine away, you can do so from your desk. It’s just unfortunate there’s no app to load them too. Or, if you’ve prepared a meal and put it in the oven, you can switch it on before you set off on your commute so it’s ready when you get home.

If you live somewhere hot, you can turn your air conditioner on so your home is a comfortable temperature before you open the door. The possibilities are amazing.

At Panasonic, the appliances which will be connected are air conditioners, fridges and washer-dryers. And the Jetsons-style future isn’t too far off with Japan the first to taste it on September 25th. The rest of us will just have to wait for now, but with some of the biggest names on the planet getting involved, it won’t be too long, I’m sure.

The app market continues to flourish and connected appliances are just another playing field for rivals to compete in. Already, manufacturers Samsung and LG have revealed their intentions to link labour-saving appliances to tablets and smart phones in a move which could fundamentally change the way we run our homes.

For instance, there’ll be no more rummaging about at the back of the fridge to find what’s in there and no more food wasted because we forgot to use it in time. Samsung’s Wi-Fi connected fridge will be getting a Grocery Manager app, so you can drag and drop virtual food items into an appliance on your smartphone or tablet, entering best-before dates as you go – menu planning made easy!

The firm is also looking at plans for apps to allow you to play your radio through your fridge, so no need for separate electronics. And, rather than rushing to your laptop to look up a recipe, you should be able to do that on your fridge too. So, no longer will it be a place to simply stick up notes with magnets.

And the world’s biggest players, Google and Apple, also have their sights set firmly on the connected home market. Google’s chair Eric Schmidt has hinted at plans to move Android beyond devices to create a home “ecosystem” while Apple has just filed a patent which reveals its voice assistant Siri could be used in appliances and services.

It seems certain if Apple is getting in on the action, our appliances and home systems will soon be connected in ways that allow us to streamline our everyday household tasks – and anything that makes the housework easier can only be a good thing as far as we’re concerned.

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