5G and cloud tech to drive China's new consumption growth
By Xia Cheng
The smart home is all the rage in China and British home appliance maker Dyson is in the game. It has its own smart home app controller, and is also working with Google Home and Amazon's Alexa. But China has always been a unique market that requires special treatments.
For Dyson, instead of promoting its own app, it created a mini smart home app in WeChat, the largest social media app in China, that allows consumers to manage home appliances from anywhere.
What home appliances should be connected?
"What we do is we have engineers placed in China so that we can research Chinese homes both in bigger cities and all over China, to understand the problems need to be solved. If there's real benefit connecting our products we will continue to do so to make sure we have good user interfaces for people the use the products," said Charlie Park, Dyson's Global Category Director for Environmental Care.
Meanwhile, the Associate Vice President of IDC China, Antonio Wang, said smart homes are replacing smartphones to lead the growth in tech consumption, as one-fifth of the homes in China run on voice-controlled home appliances.
He expects shipments of smart home products in China to be 260 million units in 2020, up by 28 percent, on top of the 35 percent growth in 2019. That includes smart home security systems, smart lights and speakers.
"Now it is all about voice to everything, meaning voice control is the dominant factor in decision making among tech consumers. And we are already seeing major telecom carriers jumping in," Wang added.
He also noted that the expected mass commercial use of 5G will completely transform tech product design.
"5G allows data to be processed in the cloud and quickly transmitted to devices. That means device makers won't need to put data processors inside the gadgets," explains Wang.
He went on to say that the change allows designers to devote the entire body of a device to hardware that supports better functions, imagery and other core performances, things that matter to user experiences. "That's key for next-generation digital devices, autonomous driving cars, and games and esports," said Wang.
But 2020 is merely just a beginning for 5G, cloud and AI to become social norms, especially for smart home appliances. Tech consulting firm Gartner says the applications of AI and 5G, for now, can be too broad and diverse for the market to digest, making it difficult for intelligent consumption to reach its full potential.
But IDC's research suggests that the demand for such smarter homes is strong as the younger generation becomes the main force in consumption and favors more integrated tech solutions.