What if technology could help us hack climate change?

Cutting-edge technologies such as AI are here to make our lives easier, but they can also be used to make them more sustainable, writes APPLiA’s Paolo Falcioni.
credit: APPLiA

By Paolo Falcioni

Paolo Falcioni is Director General of APPLiA

04 Dec 2019

Nearly every article about digitalisation and artificial intelligence starts by telling you how the technological world is developing so fast and that its already all around us. So, I would like to skip this part because others may have already used the most sophisticated wording to describe this progress.

I would prefer to start by saying things upfront - connected, smart home appliances using artificial intelligence are the logical evolution of washing machines and fridges that have already achieved energy and water efficiency excellence and made our daily lives a little greener. However, they also give us the impression that they will start recognising consumers’ habits and so this evolution inevitably starts being questioned, together with topics such as cybersecurity.


Looking at the factory, where everything starts, safety and cybersecurity are thought of from the very beginning, when the idea for a new product first comes to mind. We keep these issues in mind also when testing and trialling new products, as they are an essential part of a manufacturer’s brand reputation.

The home appliance industry’s ideal scenario is to meet supply with demand, and we listen to the numbers - nearly 80 percent of Europeans find the smart home concept appealing. Setting apart this clear signal of there being a potentially strong smart home market, we also see that innovation could be used to hack climate change for a great cause - sustainability.

"A Europe that is fit for the Digital Age and an ambitious Green Deal will inevitably rely on its brightest minds and on innovation that deliver better lifestyles, everywhere"

Cutting-edge appliances, with functionalities such as remote services and control or health check features, are here to help us and can provide solutions to crucial issues like food waste and consumer maintenance of products. Meanwhile voice control and artificial intelligence technologies are allowing us to make smarter, more versatile and higher performing products. Connected appliances can also exchange information, record personal habits and make and carry out suggestions for improvement or optimisation.

To use technology as a tool that makes our lifestyles more sustainable, manufacturers first need to innovate with the help of clear definitions, defined liability roles, well established standards that foster cybersecurity and, most importantly, debunk myths of appliances that will take control of our homes.

To fully ensure fair play between businesses - standardisation, ethical guidelines and a sense of proportionality must be there to help.

A Europe that is fit for the Digital Age and an ambitious Green Deal will inevitably rely on its brightest minds and on innovation that delivers better lifestyles, everywhere.

Read the most recent articles written by Paolo Falcioni - The unintended consequences of CBAM on the EU Industrial Strategy