The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a drastic change in how organizations and offices operate. Working from home has become a preferred option for countless businesses and millions of employees around the world. The work-from-home trend may also continue in the future, as it has been shown not to negatively affect business productivity. Moreover, according to a McKinsey study, up to 278 business leaders plan to reduce their office space by 30% even beyond the pandemic. Working from home is a seemingly viable option for employees for a variety of reasons, one of them being the possible arrival of the metaverse, a concept that will make traveling to a specific place for work superfluous. This will affect a particular part of employees’ personal lives: household chores. There are several reasons why IoT for cities and smart homes will play an important role in optimizing household chores.
Why household chores need to be automated
Household chores are an inevitable but necessary part of the personal life of individuals. For example, tasks such as preparing meals, managing laundry work, and timely lighting and plumbing repairs are hard to ignore, even if an important virtual business meeting is in progress. Simply put, tasks such as cooking, cleaning, maintenance, and task management act as distractions that hinder remote organizational work. Therefore, the productivity of remote employees is seriously affected by household chores. To state the obvious, remote work blurs the lines between workspace and personal life. Working hours are increasingly blending into the time that would normally be associated with doing household chores. These are remote work issues you’re probably familiar with. The biggest issue with remote work is how it has rolled back gender equality and the involvement of women in important positions in the workplace. This can lead to workplaces will be increasingly male dominated in the future.
Despite advances in gender equality, household chores are still primarily seen as the domain of women. In addition, as the pandemic has hit domestic workers the hardest globally, the availability of domestic help for the performance of household chores is still depressing. Thus, a woman will have to cook, clean, take care of children and other tasks, even when she and her husband are working from home. Generally, it has been observed that women do a greater amount of unpaid care work than men.
These are just a few of the reasons household chores need to be automated. As remote work is expected to remain a possibility for the foreseeable future for millions of people around the world, the ideal tools and applications should be used to facilitate this automation. The use of connected IoT for smart city and smart home applications allows people working from home to fully focus on their work while relying on smart home tools to plan, manage and complete tasks servants.
How IoT applications will define the future of household chores
Tools that use IoT for smart city-based applications can be configured in a way that makes it easier to perform household tasks.
1. Laundry management
One of the real “must-haves”, washing clothes and managing laundry in general takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to do right. Smart, connected laundry management systems automate the process, meaning physical presence is not required when clothes are being washed. These systems use IoT-based sensors to help individuals manage their laundry. Smart and connected laundry management systems include IoT-based washing machines. These machines can be controlled through a single smartphone app that provides a unified platform for users to monitor and control parameters such as machine speed and number of wash cycles performed. Moreover, these apps are also useful for managing laundry allocation and washing schedules. Thus, if certain clothes have been worn several times and require cleaning, these applications can carry out their washing independently.
These machines can detect “dirt” levels in different types of fabrics (workwear, school uniforms, linens, denim) and adjust the washing and drying speed accordingly. IoT-based washing machines are also environmentally friendly as they can regulate energy consumption based on workload.
Laundry management also includes cabinets and smart cabinets. These IoT-based applications use RFID technology to manage clothing and issue schedule alerts to residents. Laundry distribution cabinets in smart closets make it easier to access accessories and retrieve clothes faster.
The implication of IoT for smart city and smart home applications does not stop there. As you know, IoT and AI networks can be used to connect multiple devices. For example, autonomous heating and ventilation systems can activate once the clothes have been washed in a smart washing machine. This allows washed and damp clothes to dry quickly.
IoT will continue to influence the future of laundry management in smart homes. In addition to making laundry management easier and completely autonomous, using IoT for smart city and smart home applications will also reduce energy consumption, enhance environmental sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. in smart homes.
2. Home cleaning
Just like laundry management, home cleaning is another group of unavoidable chores. There are already robotic-based applications to perform autonomous cleaning. One of the most futuristic smart home concepts involves autonomous home cleaning robots, which use specialized mapping algorithms to clean floors and walls more effectively. Such devices require no human intervention, as they can detect obstacles and use sensor-based outputs to regulate energy consumption and autonomous movement of the cleaner. Mapping-based vacuums also use wall mapping to vacuum dust and clean walls, tight crevices, and cubbyholes in homes. These devices will be controlled via voice commands and built-in AI assistants. Normally, vacuum cleaners are among the major energy consumers and contribute heavily to electricity bills every month. Robot cleaners, especially those that use intelligent obstacle avoidance, can effectively regulate energy consumption. Also, because these systems don’t cover more cleaning areas than necessary, they tend to use less energy to operate. All users, even those who are visually impaired or bedridden, will be able to have their homes cleaned with these IoT-based devices.
Map-based robot cleaners, with their level of autonomy and energy efficiency, are seemingly the future of smart home cleaning.
3. Managing chores for kids
Blockchain is another essential component of an IoT-based smart home network. Blockchain is basically a decentralized ledger system that can be used to perform secure transactions. One of the applications of blockchain is to indirectly motivate children to complete their tasks – eat meals on time or complete homework brought home from school, among others. Although parenthood itself cannot be considered a chore, the household chores of the children also become the responsibility of the parents.
Blockchain-based IoT tools in smart homes allow parents to reward their children for completing tasks. For example, a parent can create their own channel with transactions and final rewards: monetary allowance, access to movies or games or online music. So if their child completes a certain task, for example, revising for a math test at a certain time, they can unlock the reward at the end of the blockchain transaction, for example, online comics. In short, the blockchain ensures that children complete their tasks with sincerity.
More importantly, the process is automated, which means parents can focus on their work while their children diligently focus on theirs.
Sometimes it can seem like remote work has posed more problems than solutions, especially when you consider the home side of things. One thing is certain, working from home cannot coexist with a normal domestic life. The job can appear at any time in remote work. Therefore, whenever possible, household chores should be automated. The future of household chores management via the IoT promises to solve the problems of distraction and poor work-life balance. Once these issues are addressed, broader issues, such as gender inequality in the home and reduced gender diversity in the workplace, can also be addressed. Current and future implication of IoT for smart city and smart home applications can bring these improvements indirectly.