In Japan, sales of smart household appliances compatible with home energy management systems (HEMs) are expected to the next big trend amid increasing awareness of energy efficiency, says Taiwan-based market intelligence company Digitimes Research.

While major Japan-based household appliance suppliers, including Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Denki, have already made the control and operation of smart household appliance systems through smartphones standard, they are now ensuring products are also HEMs compatible.

[Read more – LG says energy management is its next growth area]

Toshiba began to sell its HEMs-centric smart household appliances in October 2013, which can perform a number of advanced concierge services such as remote-control, remote-confirmation, malfunction diagnosis, usage recommendation, energy-saving proposals and notification of operation. The launch of the Internet-connected, cloud-service accessible Feminity series of home appliances further enhances Toshiba’s smart home appliance services, which can be controlled using PC systems, TVs, and tablets in addition to smartphones.

Robotic home management

Sharp vacuum HEMs smart energySharp has regarded the development of sweeping robots as the first step to realizing next-generation smart home appliance solutions. Its newest model of the robotic vacuum cleaner Cocorobo-series RX-V200 incorporates a home electrical appliance controller that can serve as a hub to control and operate a number of household appliances through infrared.

The RX-V200 can also apply to cloud services, to enhance the degree of communications with human beings. Sharp has been emphasizing the connection and communications of its smart household appliances and will incorporate such smart functions to all of its home appliances.

Panasonic has been focusing connection between smartphones and smart household appliances and has launched more than 10 related products, offering a number of value-added services through FeliCa and NFC technologies. However, along with the rising concern of energy saving, Panasonic has also begun to step into HEMs compatible products.