Humidifiers and lamps can be your talking pal? Shenzhen AI development gives you surprise
“Alexa, please turn on the humidifier”, “OK Google, please switch on pale yellow light”, “Alexa, let’s play a game”…
These are indeed not dialogues between people, but between people and smart speakers, humidifiers or even desk lamps, and evoke a feeling of science fiction.
This is what can be seen at Global Sources Electronics show, the largest electronics sourcing event in the world. The show opened April 11 at Hong Kong, where around 60 percent of exhibitors are from Shenzhen. One of the new highlights this spring is the AI Experience Zone, at which smart living, ADAS and navigation, and voice-activated devices smart are being spotlighted. Startup Launchpad will be staged at the show with altogether 200 startups from 14 countries and regions to showcase new innovations covering IoT, wearables, smart home and many more. You will see a lot of Shenzhen enterprises at the show.
Global Sources Electronics show consists of two phases –Consumer Electronics and Mobile Electronics, featuring the latest electronics products across more than 6,600 booths. Upon witnessing the show you will appreciate its importance to Shenzhen enterprises wishing to tap overseas markets. “Buyers can spend the morning in Hong Kong at the shows and then head to neighboring factory plants in the Pearl River Delta regions for next step discussions in the afternoon. Shenzhen enterprises can enjoy the advantage of quickly connecting to resources from around the world well before exhibiting at Hong Kong shows,” said Tommy Wong, President of Global Sources Electronics Group.
Shenzhen enterprises focus on AI sub-segments
Last month, Ashwin Ram, the head of Amazon’s Alexa AI research and development team, left for Google to lead AI development at Google Cloud. This drew attention toward Amazon Alexa and Google Home, the two AI voice recognition leaders in the market. At Global Sources Electronics show, many Made by Shenzhen products built on these two technologies were on display. The intelligence influence brought by Amazon and Google differed from products featured at the show, which are more focused on sub-segments, cultivating vertical markets.
“Alexa, please turn on the humidifier”, “OK Google, please switch on the pale yellow light”, “Alexa, let’s play a game”… Many visitors are communicating with all sorts of smart speakers, humidifiers or even desk lamps.
Coming from Baoan in Shenzhen, Rainbow Technology is involved in electronic components and technology development. The development of AI has brought them more business opportunities. “With Alexa added in, sales of our humidifiers are increasing. Voice-activated functions bring a lot of fun to consumers’ lives,” said the company representative. "With regard to the humidifiers segment, there are very few products delivered with AI assistant functionality. When we conducted R&D of this product, it presented technical challenges associated with adaptability and stability of both hardware and software.”
The smart humidifiers produced by Rainbow Technology include material designs including like ceramic, glass and wood, to meet with consumer demand for personalization. Alpinor, from Shenzhen Longjiang enterprise, also showcased a similar product and marketing strategy. Where they differ is that they chose to incorporate a voice assistant within their desk lamps.
“There are still very few desk lamp makers with well-developed AI solutions at the moment. Hence, market competition is not that fierce. Our company’s core competitive edge lies in timely response to hardware and product manufacturing,” said a representative of Alpinor. The Company mainly relies on OEM and ODM as its major sales source.
Apart from a variety of smart speakers, AI technology is also applied at some sub-divided segments. At the show, a translation pen drew the attention of many visitors. The pen can instantly convert the Chinese spoken language into English. The pen is produced by Shenzhen Jun Jia Hao Technology Co., Ltd. which used to manufacture Hi-Fi, but it now chose to ride on the AI trend. Chen Shuting, the Company’s chairman, introduced that this translation pen, incorporated with technology of iFLYTEK’s voice recognition and Google, can perform inter-translation of 16 languages.
In fact, the AI translation pen is a must-have product at various tech events and electronics exhibitions these days. But will it end up with product homogenization? As Chen said, in order to bring products to market, it takes sub-dividing market segments. “We have incorporated a friend-making function to allow users of different languages to communicate at distance in different languages to improve communication efficiency.”
Smart living evolves with AI technologySmart living has been the recent boom over the past few years, and geared by AI technology, smart living is undergoing rapid revolution. “Technology intensity affects how smart living goes, while AI will help bring in new genes for smart living. Smart living has evolved from an ecosystem race to a product-wide, full-platform competition,” Steven Zhou, Secretary General of China Smart Home Industry Alliance shared at the smart living summit held during the show.
Available voice-activated devices, easily controlled at home, include: appliances such as fans, air-conditioners. At Global Sources Electronics show, Shenzhen CoolKit Technologies Co. Ltd. showcased a smart living solution which integrates chips into conventional home appliances to make products with more intelligence through us of the cloud. Built on ZigBee technology, the solution is featured with advantage of high cost-effectiveness and low consumption.
Shenzhen Micronature Innovation Technology Co., Ltd. also launched the ZigBee infrared control device called MindAI. The Company's algorithm engineer Zhang Qinqin said that MindAI can save up to 20 percent more energy and can carry out regular analysis of customer habits by accessing big data and cloud computing technology to bring about comfortable environment while reducing energy consumption all at once.
“AI holds great promise in China,” said Tommy Wong. He also stated that the U.S. is still leading in the commercial use of AI for now. Some Shenzhen enterprises are determined to incorporate AI features into their products, but it doesn't mean the development is going to emerge from within the box. “It’s the same as Shenzhen enterprises like Huawei in 5G development, AI products made by Shenzhen enterprises are going to play a leading role in the world and are set to be a role model to the counterparts in the U.S. and European countries,” said Wong.
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