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Prediction for the Development of Smart Home Industry in 2019
05
08
2019
The smart home industry has developed for nearly twenty years since 2000, with a batch of new products emerging every year, especially in the logical control aspect, including perception, judgement, and movement. In these years, all parts of the industry are committed to achieving the centralized control of multi-device interconnection. By now, the industry chain has became completed and clear, covering chip, solution, product, integrated installation, etc. Therefore, the basic development of the industry has been finished, and now the new phase - intelligence, has come and drove the industry into IOT new era based on AI technology.
 
Market: The First Year of Commercialization of Whole-home Automation   
Whole-home automation has been the annual hot word of the 2018 smart home industry. Real estate is the base of the house, while the house is the base of the smart home, and the latter is just a derivative of improving the living experience. Thus, whole-home automation is a kind of smart home solutions especially for the real estate projects, which promoted by the manufacturers of whole-home Wi-Fi systems at first. As the emerging demand for intelligent house and the progress of hardcover and fully-furnished building, dozens of whole-home automation projects are ongoing. The whole industry is advancing step by step, while the others are paying lots of attention. 
 
New Connections Spring Up
The connecting area of the smart home is spreading, while more and more device manufacturers are cooperating with internet platform companies, real estate developers and operators, decoration companies, hotel, and so on. These new connections are set up for the common issue, that is human’s life. It’s the mission of smart home and the origin of these connections to serve for human’s life and create a new life-style by intelligent hardware and software. 
 
Like a chemical reaction of these intersections, there are more and more could-based services online and offline, which stands for the phased achievement and predicts the coming diversified interaction era. Intelligent service is integrating the fragmented life scenes into a variety of scene matrices, crossing different parts, different situations, and different human with diverse lifestyles.
 
The smart home industry has entered the new integration era, which means the scattered information of each intelligent device will be connected. With the integration of products and industry channels, all intelligent hardware devices will integrate various life scenes for information communication and consumer service. When the whole industry is build up with a completed body, it will be integrated and become an inseparable part of human life. 
 
Full Bloom of Platform Penetration
Internet giants are absorbing related third-party hardware through their own platform capabilities to build up ecological barriers, such as Alibaba, IaaS and PaaS platform built up by Baidu, intermediate solution providers such as SaaS platform built up by Argrace and tuya, the interconnection platform built by the three major operators, the ecological chain platform by mobile phone companies such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo, and so on. It is the resource integration of the smart home industry, whether it is to build up a hardware team by major interactive hardware, or absorb third-party equipment through the communication terminal, or construct ecological barriers through e-commerce channels or AI technology.
 
Massive enterprises of the smart home are breaking the barriers of interconnection by the power of the platform. However, the breakthrough is still limited. The current industry ecological construction has made some progress compared with the era of developing alone, bringing more equipment interconnection, life scene construction and user experience improvement. In the future, the win-win cooperation will be achieved between platforms, while a true connectivity era of the smart home will be built.
 
Business Breakthrough: From Controlling Demand to Operational Thinking
The demand for intelligent projects has been prominent, including intelligent real estates, smart communities, intelligent hotels, and smart offices. However, compared with the previous years, the purpose of these projects has changed from controlling demand to operational thinking.
   
Taking intelligent real estate as an example. A few years ago, the real estate industry was developing in a premium period, during which the developers did not pay attention to the smart home. Since 2018, the developers began to take note of the added value that the intelligence bring to a house. Since then, they begin to convert their roles to the life operators, aims at making more connection between the owners’ necessities of life and real estate development enterprises. That is, real estate developers will introduce smart devices into thousands of households. The purpose is to connect the community with surrounding business operators by the help of smart devices, and being a lifestyle and life service operator of the inhabitants.
 
From the early single O2O to the current smart home and smart community, real estate developers have been trying to make the breakthrough around intelligence to meet the needs of the smart era. As we said before, the house is the carrier of the smart home equipment, and the carrier of the house is the real estate. The real estate developer can connect the smart house with the smart community while developing the property, and unify the User ID, which may become the core role of the intelligent era. The developers will integrate the resource to meet the needs of intelligent projects, especially the comprehensive development of the stock and property market.
 
Starting from the field of the whole house, a new smart home business model will be created by injecting standard integration of the scenes in community, office and hotel.  The industry will extend the centralized control to the wider field, and add the new thinking of operation into the equipment connectivity. 
 
Technology: The New Chip in the LoT Era
China’s artificial intelligent chips and Internet of Things related chips are gradually catching up with the ones in European and American countries. The full-scale development of numerous smart home hardware is bound to help the innovation of the chips in turn. Thus, the market size of the smart home should not be overlooked.
 
Burst-Development of Sensors
In the past two years, the industry has focused on the top-level application. However, intelligence is inseparable from sensing technology. Different smart home systems require support from different sensor data. Deep learning of AI requires the collection of sensors in the Internet of Things. It is no longer a problem to realize single sensing in a single device. In the future, it will turn to the intelligent interaction with incorporated sensors.
 
By connecting with the cloud platform and the local area network, the sensor will transmit the processed data to the intelligent terminals and drive its subsystems to make adjustments. The sensor of the smart home will progress with the trend of miniaturization, intelligence, multi-function, and networking. In the future, whole-home automation will exist like air and working like breathing. That is to say, people will insensibly enjoy the convenient life brought by smart home.
 
AI - Speech Recognition + Face Recognition, and Edge Computing
AI has been more powerful, entering the era of strong artificial intelligence from the era of weak artificial intelligence. The technical development in the next few years will base on the upgrade of existing technologies. AI technology and big data sectors will build a technical foundation.
 
The characteristics of smart homes need to be armed by AI. AI will become the technical foundation for building a smart home ecological connection, and also a catalyst for the new business model, It will link up control connections with data connections to catalyze new business models. With the influx of AI into smart homes, the industry of voice-based control products has started. In the next few years, it will focus on the application of visual recognition to achieve a comprehensive user experience of Voice Control + Face Identification.
 
Traditional smart home enterprises, driven by new technologies such as AI, will turn from controlling roles to platforms and media, integrating consumer services into homes. At the same time, edge computing will bring smoother local control. With the help of AI, big data, cloud computing and other technologies, the new model of Cloud Platform+ Edge Computing+ Client will be accepted by a variety of enterprises.
 
Product: Next Generation Core-level Interactive Hardware
In the family category, the industry has been looking for next-generation interactive products similar to the mobile phone, a kind of high-frequency interactive hardware. At first, it is thought to be intelligent speakers, now it added with a screen. The industry, especially driven by the Internet giants at home and abroad, have competed in the form of the speaker for the past two years. When the intelligent speaker is equipped with the screen, the user will receive feedback in the interface while using the device, which will bring more humanized experience.
 
For Internet companies, the value of new interactive products has surpassed the product itself. The product will become the carrier of values and data in the new era, and the giant enterprises in the IoT era must be data companies.
 
Single Product
The spring of the single products, such as intelligent speakers and smart locks, has given the smart home industry hope and solved their confusion hanging for many years.
 
The outbreak of single products has not yet ended. After the multi-point explosion, the function of the products will be gradually improved. Then, the quantity and demand of users will surge and feed back the full-house system market, which may trigger full-scale progress of the whole-home automation market. For example, the price of smart lock will down to 1000 yuan, which means the products will turn to a more acceptable price and meet the appeals of different groups.
 
Intelligent Micro System Suite
The value of the microsystem suite is highlighted, such as voice-based kits, HomeKit-based kits, sensor-based kits, audio-based kits, panel-based kits, security-based kits, door lock-based kits, and more. The smart home will fully focus on consumer, and the attempt of the suite is also a mature signal of the products.
 
Since the second half of last year, almost every brand has been selling suites. The essence of suite sales is the so-called small life scene connection, which can connect major life scenes through a tiny system. In fact, like the smart lock, smart washing machine and other single products, the logic behind the single products, such as smart lock and smart washing machine, is also a microsystem with distributed scene properties.
 
The Value of Smart Product Surpass the Product Itself
Products will become the carrier of value transfer. The more core-level the interactive products are, the more value and data they carry, that is the developing trend which could be seen from the popularity of smart speakers.
 
Prediction: Useless Connections Will be Left Behind
Enterprises make connection around life scenes; however, making a connection for nothing, the enterprises will be eliminated at last. 
 
The Opportunity of Distributed Voice Panel
The intelligent panel with wide distribution, high-frequency use, convenient control and beautiful appearance has become the best entrance and interactive terminal for realizing intelligent control of the house. The type 86 wall touch panel and top-mounted intelligent voice panel will compete with wall- and top-mounted mini-intelligent speakers.
 
The Emerging of Touch-screen Devices
At present, with the excess touch-screen of the mobile phone, the cost of the screen is reduced, which will improve the cost performance of the screen-touch controlling panel and speaker, and the like. A large number of smart home devices with screens will be created.
 
The Rat Race of Wireless Communication Technique Industry
For domestic smart home industry, Zigbee is still the major company of wireless communication protocols. However, with the development of Bluetooth Mesh of low-power consumption, a small industry burst may happen in next year, which may have a certain effect on the industry status of Zigbee. The commercialization of high-speed network 5G will also have a great impact on the overall product form and control system of smart homes.
 
Low-power narrowband protocols such as Lora and NB-IoT are gradually being added into more subsystems of smart homes. In the future, a batch of enterprises will try to commercialize such wireless protocol products.
 
The Developing Period of Client-side Voice Product
For the driving of smart speakers in the past two years, the industry of intelligent voice product is changing apparently. Especially after the Internet companies entered the industry of smart home hardware by the help of voice technology, the ecological balance of the industry, which bases on the traditional business-side, has been broken. In the future market competition of client-side voice products, there will be the best developing period of 2-3 years.
 
The Road to Cloud Gateway for Router
We have always regarded the gateway as a separate form of low-power protocol. The traditional gateway is directly connected to the router, and now the router enterprises want to realize the gateway revolution of the router by integrating Bluetooth Mesh and other forms. In this way, users can buy the route and get the service of gateway meanwhile, which has become another new form of family-level device. It is also a good model for operators and routers.
 
Data Value
Smart homes mean belonging and security, and the future technology companies must win with data. Carrying a mass of user data, the smart home will be a new start for the future giants.
 
The Next Focus of Industry Ecology Is Service
The Internet of Things era will also promote the emergence of a new sales platform through services, entering the retail industry by service in turn, which is stimulating the business model from platform attributes to product brands. A sales model different from Alibaba, JD, Suning, GOME, will be born as well as a new retail giant, and open a new era of intelligence.
 
The Next Service Chain Core Is Not Necessarily SI
Smart home integrator SI is one of the oldest squares and an important part of the industry chain. It has been growing in the focus of finding good products, solving sales difficulties and overcoming growth bottlenecks.
 
At present, the camp of SI is devised into several parts, including integrators of the top customer service, integrators who enter the market through the client-end retail channel, excellent integrators following the project, integrators protected by the big platform, a group of service provider upgraded from original services channel and a batch of newer integrators. All of them constitute the whole industry chain of traditional smart home, including sales, design, installation and service. But they will face more competition from new forces in the future.
 
Intelligent service is the same as traditional custom furniture service. The race is for understanding the habits of users. The whole house customization provider, operator team and home appliance company will enter the service scope of traditional smart home SI. During the future channel cooperation, the whole house customization enterprise may become a very good partner of the smart home.
 
Internet-Based Real Estate + Whole-home Automobile
Real estate is a pure land that has not been reformed by Internet companies, but it would not remain. The smart home ecological platform built by Internet companies need to find real estate channels to land. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before real estate is involved, which will also drive the comprehensive development of the whole-home automobile.
 
Consumer Era of Client-end
The Smart home is evolving into intelligent life, and everyone will use more smart homes. The battle in the commanding point for the smart home client-end market is just beginning. Now is the starting point of the smart home client-end consumption. With the price of smart locks and intelligent speakers entering the area of 1000 yuan and 100 yuan separately, the area has been successfully pioneered.
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