Home appliance industry embraces smart solutions for rapid development | investinchina.chinaservicesinfo.com

Home appliance industry embraces smart solutions for rapid development

By FAN FEIFEI China Daily Global Updated: 2023-06-29
People check out a 5G intelligent robot patroller at a commercial area in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, in October. [Photo by ZOU XUNYONG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Smart refrigerators that monitor the freshness of food, help order ingredients, and recommend recipes by analyzing dietary preferences have become part of daily life.

Air conditioners can now automatically control the humidity and temperature in a room, based on their self-learning ability to track users' habits. In the era of intelligence, almost every home appliance can be controlled through voice commands, facial recognition and by using mobile devices remotely.

Experts said China's intelligent home appliance industry is expected to trigger new development opportunities, fueled by advances in cutting-edge digital technologies.

A report from global market research company International Data Corp, or IDC, said shipments of smart home equipment in China reached 260 million units last year, a rise of just over 17 percent year-on-year, and the figure is expected to reach 540 million units in 2025, with total sales revenue surpassing 800 billion yuan ($111.7 billion).

Traditional home appliance manufacturers are rapidly shifting to smart strategies, applying state-of-the-art 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and internet of things, or IoT, technologies to boost the transformation and upgrading of products. IoT refers to a network of objects with software or sensors that allow data exchanges.

Haier Smart Home, a subsidiary of Chinese home appliance giant Haier Group, has built a 5G-powered IoT ecosystem by providing tailor-made solutions that link multiple home appliance products.

This 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. Clients or users can be involved in product design, research and development, production, manufacturing and sales.

Li Huagang, president of Haier Smart Home, said, "In the era of 5G and IoT, users don't need homogeneous products, but customized solutions to meet personalized lives. We are willing to introduce bespoke services for more families."

Pan Xuefei, a senior analyst at IDC, said:"5G and AIoT, or artificial intelligence of things, will play key roles in bolstering the connection of different smart home devices in various application scenarios, and in facilitating interaction between humans and machines."

AIoT refers to the combination of AI technologies with IoT infrastructure to improve human-machine interactions and enhance data management and analytics.

Pan added that other cutting-edge technologies, such as voice interaction and facial recognition, have been applied gradually in smart speakers, security surveillance equipment and other smart home devices to enhance user experience and the functions of related products.

Zhang Yanbin, an independent researcher in the home appliances sector, said, "The smart home industry is developing by leaps and bounds, thanks to advances in 5G, IoT, big data and other technologies."

Moreover, Chinese home appliance manufacturers are stepping up efforts to integrate AI-powered chatbots into their products and services. They hope to provide a better human-machine interaction experience, as ChatGPT has triggered worldwide attention and a new AI wave due to its advanced conversational capabilities.

Home appliance maker Midea Group is among the first batch of partners for Ernie Bot, a ChatGPT-like AI chatbot launched by technology heavyweight Baidu in March. Midea said it will bolster the upgrading of human-machine conversation abilities in the smart home sector by using cutting-edge generative AI technology.

The company said its smart home products and family service robots will have access to Ernie Bot, which has shown its capabilities in fields such as literary creation, business writing, mathematical calculation and Chinese-language understanding.

Hisense Visual Technology, a home appliance company based in Qingdao, Shandong province, has also joined the Ernie Bot ecosystem to integrate Baidu's intelligent conversational technology into its televisions and large-sized displays.

Liu Fei, research director in the consumer electronics department at market consultancy All View Cloud in Beijing, said the emergence of new AI technologies will better facilitate conversational interaction between humans and home appliance products, and further accelerate the intelligent transformation of China's home appliance industry.

The iteration and upgrading of product functions and technologies will stimulate consumers' purchasing appetite and create new revenue growth drivers for home appliance companies, Liu added.