The Smartphone – at the Heart of the Smart Home Ecosystem

In his CE China keynote on 4th May, Huawei’s Changzhu Li analysed current status and problems of smart home and raised questions regarding consumers’ needs and smart home’s value. After his presentation, we asked Mr Li to tell us more about how the smartphone (or “handset”) fits into the smart home equation…

More and more smart homes and wearables have connections with the handset. They use the handset as a controlling, management, data management and data awareness. So there is a very close connection with the smartphone. This is why I am also heavily involved in the design of wearables and the smart home ecosystem.

So it’s more about philosophy than simple hardware.

Yes, it’s the hardware, the software and the user experience.

What point are we at in smart home?

We are facing a breaking point. A lot of silos have been built, a lot of home devices have been given some sort of intelligence, but the next phase we are facing is how to use this intelligence, how to coordinate those devices to provide better service and value to the user. This is the fundamental point. If we can coordinate those devices to create perceivable value to the user, the user will love it, and this industry will boom.

Why is China leading the market (by far) for smart appliances?

Firstly, there is a good environment here for technological innovation, with the government encouraging start-ups to be creative. There is also an effect from the culture. People here love to play, and trying new things is part of the DNA of our culture. In China, we have enough “geeks” who want to try something new, and this is a positive encouragement to the innovators. The third factor is the fact that Shenzhen has developed an ecosystem over the past twenty years such that if you develop an idea, within one week your partner can provide a prototype, and after three months they can provide the first product. You can use all the capability of the industry here! This greatly enhances our efficiency.