Headline: Amid integration of software and hardware, Shenzhen enterprises point to sub-divided segments of smart home industry; expert advices: “beware of risks of self-initiated software development”
According to Cameron Walker, President of Global Sources Gifts, Home and Hardware Group, most of the smart home enterprises at the show are from Shenzhen, followed by Huadong region. The smart home industry has matured a lot compared to three years ago, and its nascent rise has given way to clearer direction for the future.
“Integration of software and hardware, and integration of different platforms has pushed forward smart living into consumer markets,” said Walker. He shared that alongside the maturation of the smart home industry over the past three years, software has improved the consumer experience dramatically. “Many Shenzhen enterprises are adopting well-developed software solutions offered by Amazon and Microsoft into their products.”
Walker cited that amongst their home product exhibitors, 10 to 20 percent are launching smart home products. Many conventional products have also been incorporated with intelligence concepts, such as audio devices and humidifiers.
Apart from adopting well-developed software, there are some enterprises engaging in self-initiated software development to pair with their own hardware in the manufacture of smart home products. Compared to the former, which is more easily accepted by the markets and brings about bigger economic benefits? Walker believes that both have their pros and cons. “If they are doing software R&D on their own, they can usually grasp the core technology but might fail to win consumer trust and recognition. This is the risk that Shenzhen enterprises have to take into consideration.”
China home appliances and electronics products are growing more competitive, winning popularity in Europe and the U.S. markets. However, lacking experience with the integration of software and hardware, home product enterprises may learn from the giant Internet companies to make up for their insufficiency, shared by Walker.
Another challenge is product safety and personal privacy protection. Walker said that smart development is a double-edged sword. There are a number of problems with regard to personal privacy issues. To promote better industry growth, industry players should learn from existing problems and their corresponding solutions.
AI, 5G integration with AR, VR
“Now is the time for 5G to come!” Raymond Pao, Vice President of Product and Strategy of HTC said at the fourth VR/AR/MR Ecosystem Summit held during the show. After the emergence of 5G, boundaries between various technologies will get even more blurred. HTC is going to integrate VR, AR with AI and 5G technologies. In cooperation with Warner Bros., HTC will launch VR experience Oasis beta built on the movie setting of “Ready Player One” to market.
HTC VIVE Pro has already been undergoing trials and applications in areas like education, medical treatments and motor vehicles. Some doctors in Hong Kong have been trying out surgery simulations with such gadgets.
Tommy Wong, President of Global Sources Electronics Group, shared that the integration of AI, 5G with VR and AR is going to push forward visual and audio upgrade and motion detection. As to the question of how to capitalize on this blue ocean, Wong responded that enterprises have to grab the technology trend, and be bold enough to face with technological changes. At the same time, they should also keep developing applications of VR technology, and widen the VR application in education, medical treatments and new retail in order to incorporate VR technology into the daily lives of consumers and boost industry’s new development.
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