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Smart home appliances a long way off.

The telecom operators also become aware of the business opportunities in IOT home appliances. One of the three giants in the telecom industry in China - China Telecom has gone into cooperation with Haier

T he hot concept of Internet of Things (IOT) makes the whole home appliance industry extremely nervous and sensitive. It is learnt that, domestic leading black and white appliance manufacturers including Haier, Hisense, Midea, Little Swan and Changhong all have invested hundreds of millions for R&D expenditure in the field of IOT. The manufacturers have spent a lot in the development of IOT home appliances. This can also indicate the enthusiasm and expectation of these appliance manufacturers in this field. In January 2010, Haier introduced the first IOT refrigerator in the world. This refrigerator can scan the barcode of the food inside to learn which food is expired. If some food has been eaten off, the refrigerator can contact with the neighborhood supermarket to supplement new foods in time.

According to the statistics from Haier, it has led 7 industrial standards, 9 national standards and 1 international standard of the IOT related industries, and owns nearly a hudred relevant patent technologies in IOT field. In the same year, Little Swan, subordinate to Midea, produced the first IOT washer. An insider of Midea expressed that Midea had developed many IOT appliances technologies in relation to microwave oven, vacuum cleaner and air conditioner, and would gradually publish these products under proper conditions. The telecom operators also become aware of the business opportunities in IOT home appliances. One of the three giants in the telecom industry in China - China Telecom has gone into cooperation with Haier. These two parties signed a strategic agreement on E-STORE project to form a cross-industrial cooperation, and fixed their "full cooperation from internet application to terminal sales" in 2011.

Almost at the same time, Midea, which views Haer as a competitor, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with another telecom giant, China Unicom. The two parties agreed to carry out all-round deep strategic cooperation in such fields as cooperative development, cooperative marketing and communication services, in order to push the business development and product extension of the two parties.

Recently, China Mobile also took a high-profile trial of its IOT business "Yi Ju Tong". Without cooperation with relevant appliance manufacturer, the influence is relatively smaller as compared with the aforementioned two camps of cooperative parties. The difference of the three operators in resources and strategies also, to a certain degree, decides the development direction of their cooperative appliance manufacturers. Though the manufacturers feel enthusiastic in IOT and invest huge in product development, in fact, many key problems are still not solved, which block the fast advancement of IOT. It can't be said there is no challenge in the cooperation between home appliance industry and telecom industry. The most severe challenge is that basic network standard and home informatization network construction may conflict with business mode.

Different equipment of different appliance manufacturers has no common interactive language. The scale poularization of IOT home appliances in 2011 will be based on the closer cooperation between the operators and the appliance manufacturers.

Firstly, the two parties need to reach an agreement on formulating the basic internet standard, so that each appliance can be connected to the network, the operation information of the appliances can be formatted and put out, and the appliances can be controlled. The operator, as a third party without direct interest conflict with the home appliance industry, can do many things. They can take the lead in making the common interactive standard between the appliances of different manufacturers. While, in this regards, there exist both the technical feasibility of inclusive competition and also the business driven value and interest. If an operator is able to initially unite the appliance manufacturers to formulate the factual industrial standard, this means it has occupied the strategic high point in the informatization of home appliance.

If IOT is just limited in these co-partnerships in a long period, it is unfavorable to both enterprises themselves and the industry. Why not think over this matter calmly that if the enterprises, the society and even the era are ready to accept IOT? Any kind of products will finally be bought by the consumers. Most consumers still keep a watching attitude toward the IOT home appliance products. Even some consumers do not understand and believe it is not necessary that refrigerators can be used to watch TV and washing machines can be used to pay water and electricity bills. Inside experts analyze that, currently there are few IOT home appliances and consumers do not have an all-round understanding of their advantages. With the continuous development of technology, consumers will realize their irreplaceable advantages. It is just like the development of personal computers. Once consumers realize its advantages, it will develop fast.

Surely, at present, the development of IOT home appliances is still in the starting period and consumer recognition and acceptance are quite low. To enter people's life, the IOT products still need quite a long period rather than one or two years.

China Telecom has gone into cooperation with Haier. These two parties signed a strategic agreement on E-STORE project to form a cross- industrial cooperation, and fixed their "full cooperation from internet application to terminal sales" in 2011
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Publication:Flare
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Apr 15, 2011
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