China’s home appliance manufacturers are accelerating steps to launch smart home products by applying 5G, AI and IoT technologies, according to a China Daily report on August 9.
Shipments of smart home equipment in China reached 230 million units in 2021, and the figure is expected to reach 540 million units in 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 21.4% over the next five years, said a report released by global market research firm International Data Corp.
With the help of these technologies, people can now easily control almost every home appliance through voice commands, facial recognition and remote use of mobile devices. Refrigerators that can monitor the freshness of foods, help users order ingredients and recommend recipes via analyzing user habits and preferences, have become a reality in people's daily lives.
Haier Smart Home (海尔智家), a subsidiary of China's largest home appliance manufacturer, Haier Group, has built a 5G-powered IoT ecosystem by providing customized solutions that tie together multiple home appliance products.
The IoT ecosystem is powered by Haier's industrial internet platform COSMOPlat, a new type of manufacturing automation that combines advanced machines, internet-connected sensors and big data analysis to boost productivity and reduce industrial production costs.
China Daily said that clients or users could be involved in product design, research and development, production, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
For instance, Haier's "internet of clothing" includes not only machines that wash but those that can also oversee everything to do with clothing, including styles, shopping, storage and other functions.
"In the era of 5G and IoT, users need not homogeneous products, but customized solutions to meet personalized lives. We are willing to introduce tailored services for more families," said Li Huagang, president of Haier Smart Home.
Haier, China Mobile－the world's largest telecom carrier－and tech giant Huawei jointly launched the world's first AI plus 5G interconnected factory in 2019. The three parties have deepened their cooperation to upgrade the industrial internet ecosystem and effectively support smart manufacturing, according to China Daily.
"5G and AIoT will play a key role in bolstering the connection of different smart home devices in various application scenarios and facilitating the interaction process between human beings and machines," said Pan Xuefei, a senior analyst at market research firm IDC.
Pan added that other cutting-edge technologies, such as voice interaction and facial recognition, have been gradually applied in smart speakers, security surveillance equipment and other smart home devices to enhance user experience and enrich the functions of related products.
Other appliance makers such as Skyworth Group (创维集团), TCL and Sichuan Changhong (四川长虹) have ramped up efforts to excel in the 5G-powered 8K ultrahigh definition television segment.
"5G offers technological support for the adoption of 8K, while 8K is one of the best application scenarios for superfast wireless technology," said Wu Wei, chief engineer at Skyworth Group.
Superfast 5G technologies can solve content transmission, compression and decoding problems for 8K displays, and provide solutions for various fields covering entertainment, medical imaging, broadcasting, security monitoring and remote education, said Ai Weiqi, research manager of consumer electronics at Beijing-based market consultancy All View Cloud.
With the commercial application of 5G and the application of ultrahigh definition display technologies, China's ultrahigh definition terminal industry is expected to usher in a golden period of development, said Li Dongsheng, founder and chairman of Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL.
"The smart home industry is now developing by leaps and bounds, thanks to advances in 5G, IoT, big data and other technologies," said Zhang Yanbin, an independent researcher in the home appliances sector.
Zhao Meimei, assistant president of All View Cloud, said some challenges and difficulties have cropped up in the development of smart home devices.
"Smart home products made by different manufacturers usually can't be connected, and we still rely on foreign suppliers for high-end smart chips. It will still take several years to see the large-scale application of smart home devices," Zhao told China Daily.