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Smart speaker obedience becomes the key to smart home


The smart speaker is the carrier of the voice assistant, which can be used to control all kinds of home appliances. Together with the price advantage, it is expected to become the center of smart home. In 2020, the shipment will be 100 million units. However, the voice assistant can exist in any terminal product in any form, and the development strategies of each manufacturer are also different. Adding smart speakers becomes a variable of the smart home center.  


 smart speaker

Smart home three elements

Man-machine interface, connectivity and versatility

Smart home is an application field extended by the Internet of Things. It consists of three main projects: the cloud, the control center and home appliances. The cloud is used to collect household appliances usage data, analyze usage status and trends, and then feed back to users. The control center is the most important human-machine interface for users. The control center allows users to easily control home appliances, but in the past, home appliance manufacturers each supported the hills. A single control center cannot control all brands of home appliances. Users must download the app of each home appliance manufacturer to fully control it, and it is not convenient to use.


As artificial intelligence progresses, voice assistants are expected to break the situation. It is not easy for home appliance manufacturers to develop their own voice assistants. Home appliance operators choose to connect with voice assistants in the cloud. After the cloud players access the voice platform, users can control home appliances through voice. Voice assistants become home. The housekeeper exists in every device.


If a single device is to become the control center of a smart home, it needs to have three elements. First, it is a good man-machine interface, which reduces the barriers to consumer use, and secondly, complete network connectivity, so that consumers do not need to worry about whether the purchased product is Will not be able to connect to the home network, and finally the versatility, to improve the adhesion of consumers to the product, the product is also less likely to be replaced.


However, it is difficult for the terminal products on the market to meet the above three conditions at the same time. The current strategic products that can meet certain conditions and have large shipments and high usage rates are smart speakers, smart TVs and home gateways. However, these products have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the suitable application scenarios at home are not the same. Whether it can become the center of smart home can not be asserted.


Smart speaker current hottest voice assistant carrier

At present, smart speakers are the main carrier of voice assistants, and the relatively low price makes smart speakers become popular products in recent years. Consumers can control smart home appliances through voice. Although a few manufacturers have introduced smart speakers with touch screens, such as Amazon's Echo Show, but the limited price is high, voice is still the most important human interface of smart speakers.


Currently, the main voice assistant suppliers are Amazon, Google and Alibaba. All of them are cloud operators and smart speaker manufacturers. When consumers send instructions by voice, the smart speakers will transmit voice commands to the semantic cloud. The identified instructions are transmitted to the Internet of Things platform and then connected to third-party vendors. In the network configuration, the smart speaker is mainly connected to the home appliance by Wi-Fi, and the Bluetooth is used for playing music. The purpose is to control the usage flow of the consumer and charge the third party manufacturer.


In terms of content, Amazon and Alibaba use e-commerce advantages to allow consumers to shop through smart speakers, while Google is cooperating with Walmart, a large supermarket chain in the United States, to develop shopping services. In addition, Google also open the voice API or SDK to third-party vendors to access, application services include car, ordering, audio books, etc., whether in the United States, China, are the focus of development.


Smart TV multi-function audio and video carrier

With the introduction of OTT video into the TV, voice control naturally becomes an important human-machine interface for smart TV, and allows the consumer to confirm whether the voice command is correct through the screen display. This advantage has led many home appliance manufacturers to use smart TV as a smart home center. For example, Samsung, Hisense, Changhong and other manufacturers have defined smart TV as Hub (hub), first through their own development system to connect their home appliances, and then through Connected to other brands of home appliances through the API open method.


OTT video transmission of audio and video content to the TV through the network requires a large enough bandwidth. WiFi has become the main wireless transmission technology for smart TV. However, most small appliances do not have built-in WiFi, and most of them use ZigBee, Z-wave, etc. In order to expand more serial products, Samsung plans to launch a product called SmartThings Extend. After connecting to the TV via USB, consumers can use TV to control home appliances using ZigBee, Z-Wave and other technologies. product.


Among the many products, the content of the TV is the most abundant. After the OTT video is entered, the diversified audio and video content will follow, and the high-quality display panel of the TV will show the image effects that other products cannot match. With the enhancement of TV computing performance, consumers can download games, music and lifestyle information apps on smart TVs, and let TVs still be home appliances with high adhesion at home.


Home Gateway Provides complete home wireless communication integration

The purpose of the home gateway is to integrate various transmission protocols and connect with various large platforms. However, the home gateway generally does not implement a touch screen or voice control, so the human-machine interface must rely on the smart phone. The smart phone sends commands to the home gateway through the Home AP, and then controls the home appliances. Some home gateways have powerful computing performance. Taking the home gateway launched by ASUS as an example, the 1.5GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, and 8GB Flash can pass data analysis. Learn user habits and ultimately achieve home automation goals.


Although the voice assistant has become the popular man-machine interface, most home gateway vendors are not willing to bet the specific voice assistant manufacturer, but integrate the mainstream voice assistant. In Xiaomi's smart home blueprint, if consumers use voice control, they must control the Xiaomi home appliance through Xiaoai's speaker.


The biggest advantage of home gateways is the integration of multiple communication protocols into a single product. For example, ASUS Home Gateway integrates Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Zigbee. Yiyou Technology integrates BLE (low-power Bluetooth), IR (infrared) and WiFi. Even if the WiFi is disconnected, the system can still operate normally, and the data does not necessarily have to go to the cloud, which not only reduces the delay, but also reduces the risk of data leakage.


Future smart home center type

On the human-machine interface, the control methods of each model are not completely replaced with each other, and even must exist in one carrier at the same time. In view of the current three carriers, the home gateway does not carry any human-machine interface, and relies on the external control interface. The smart speaker is initially based on voice as a control interface, and recently it has been equipped with touch screen-assisted control, but this type of product Not popular due to high prices. The same voice control carrier also has a smart TV, voice control and began to penetrate into the mid-level smart TV, plus the ability to display voice commands through the screen, and remote control assistance, smart TV on the human-machine interface is More comprehensive.


In terms of home wireless network functions, WiFi is highly popular, so whether it is a smart speaker, a smart TV or a home gateway, WiFi is used as a standard communication device. According to the vendor's strategy, smart speakers or home gateways will also choose to support Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth. For example, Amazon Echo Plus can also support ZigBee. Through these network communication protocols, local control can be achieved.


However, relatively speaking, smart TV does not integrate too much wireless communication technology. If users have wireless communication needs other than WiFi, they must be connected externally. In addition, in the current situation where smart homes are not yet popular, home appliances that are controlled by IR still account for the majority, and most home gateways support IR control, while smart speakers and smart phones do not. Overall, the home gateway network has the most complete functions.


In terms of content, the purpose of the home gateway is to connect to the network and control. Therefore, it is necessary to link more home appliances in content expansion. This is why home gateway manufacturers want to establish a platform and even provide related technologies to support home appliance manufacturers to connect more home appliances. product.


On the other hand, because of the rich audio and video content, smart TVs make consumers have a high degree of adhesion to smart TVs, and many manufacturers have set them as the control center of smart homes. The content services of smart speakers are among the three. Through the opening of the voice assistant API, consumers can use software services such as audio books, music, news, etc., and use voice to control home appliances, but the former is not used for a long time, while the latter is limited by the fact that smart home appliances are not popular and can be manipulated. There are not many products.


If you want to have a more comprehensive understanding of the development of smart home types, you must discuss them from short, medium and long term. In the past, different brands of home appliances could not be connected in series. Today, voice assistants are used to break the barriers between home appliance manufacturers. For example, in the North American market, most home appliances support more than two voice assistants at the same time. It will be the main carrier of the voice assistant, and the current price of the smart speaker is lower, so that the smart speaker is regarded as the smart home center.


However, if you only rely on voice and smart speakers to control the smart home, the sound will be easily affected by the distance and the propagation medium. It is expected that the voice assistant will become the standard equipment of the smart TV in the middle and long-term evolution process. The original screen and remote control of the TV make it have a variety of human-machine interfaces, and the audio and video content of the TV will make the smart TV become the control center of the living room.


Smart speakers can be used in satellites, kitchens, etc. due to their price advantage. As for the home gateway, besides the strong connectivity and local processing, whether it is human-machine interface or content richness, it depends on other terminal products. Therefore, in the short and medium term, the home gateway still plays an important role in networking and control. The role, but in the long run, as technology evolves, chips that support multiple communication protocols will be imported into other devices, and the importance of home gateways will be significantly reduced, and may even become ancillary products.

TypeInfo: Industry News

Keywords for the information:smart home  smart speaker