Coming to a cloud near you: dirty laundry

Panasonic Android app will control whitegoods


Panasonic has announced an Android application to control home appliances. The only catch: users also have to be prepared to shuffle their data through a cloud service for it all to work.

The Panasonic Smart App will be available from September, and the company says it will be able to control devices as diverse as air conditioners, refrigerators, kitchen appliances and healthcare devices.

Users who leap into the gadget cargo cult will be able to control their air-con remotely, check on the refrigerator, or launch the washing machine on their preferred cycle, the company says.

Some of the capabilities suggested by the company seem either eccentric, or to have suffered on their journey from Japanese to English. For example, El Reg isn’t certain that vultures need to schedule appointments with their air conditioner. It’s also mystifying why devices like activity meters or blood pressure devices need an in-app link to recipe searches.

The new service adds to a service launched in June to “cloudify” microwave ovens – pushing recipe searches through Panasonic’s servers.

The possibilities for exploitation seem endless to El Reg: with a decent password link, or perhaps a rogue look-alike Android application, attackers could render your home uncomfortably hot or cold, spoil or freeze the contents of your refrigerator, or simply run appliances while you’re out of the house. But hey, it’s a cloud service from a big-name provider: what could possibly go wrong? ®


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