Enthusiasm for smart homes has penetrated the property sector the past few years, though it’s mainly focused on high-end real estate because the prices of connected home appliances remain high.
But the adoption of smart home technology is expected to escalate in the coming years, with the prices of smart devices set to decline as more products enter the market, supported by an increase in available languages.
New use cases aligned with modern lifestyles are anticipated to help push the adoption of intelligent devices at home.
Niti Mekmok, vice-president of the Thai IoT Association, said smart home features have been available in Thailand for at least three years, but most connected devices are found in luxury houses and condos, particularly in the kitchen.
The pandemic slowed the property market, including smart homes, but if home appliance makers can usher in products that meet people’s new lifestyles, the adoption of connected devices at home is expected to surge in the next few years, he said.
One example is home lighting systems. The colour and tone of lights can be automatically adjusted in line with users’ activities as people spend more time working and studying inside the home.
Lighting systems can detect users’ activities, such as work, study or entertainment, and automatically present colours and tones that suit the environment.
Smart home concepts can also offer safety and health support. For example, one feature is sensors that can detect gas leaks or door locks. There is an ultraviolet C (UVC) light system that can disinfect air and surfaces, killing viruses without harm to humans.
“We expect smart home devices to gain momentum when they are developed to support voice command,” Mr Niti said. “TVs would be a centre for intelligent smart home features.”
Smart gadgets at home can be controlled by smartphone apps.
5G AND AI
Chalermpong Darongsuwan, vice-president for consumer electronics at Thai Samsung Electronics, said a fully integrated smart home is still in the early stages in Thailand. People mostly use separate connected devices at home, including smart TVs, connected air conditioners, washing machines, hair dryers and refrigerators.
Samsung makes a smart refrigerator that serves as a hub to communicate with other devices in the home, Mr Chalermpong said.
The roll-out of 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) technology could be groundbreaking, forging connectivity of devices and featuring a seamless experience across devices and platforms, he said.
The South Korean tech giant touts end-to-end smart home solutions, including hardware, software, Bixby (Samsung AI), cloud services and Samsung Smart Things.
Connected devices at home could bring new experiences to users. For example, when customers are busy cooking in the kitchen and a smartphone rings, they can use a voice command to order a smart fridge nearby to pick up the call, said Mr Chalermpong. A smart washing machine could send an alert to users when their laundry finishes.
Samsung is gearing up efforts to work with property developers to usher in smart home features for users.
Xiaomi works with Thai furniture brand Modernform to co-create an innovative furniture collection.
According to the Statista website, Thailand’s smart home market will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.9% during 2020-25, resulting in a projected market volume of US$495 million (15.5 billion baht) by 2025.
Smart homes are likely to see household penetration of 2.8% by 2020 and 10.2% by 2025, Statista said.
Jonathan Kang, general manager of Xiaomi Thailand, the local unit of the Chinese tech firm, said the company sees huge potential in the Thai smart home market and wants to expand here.
As Xiaomi marked its 10th anniversary in August, it announced an upgraded core strategy called “Smartphone X AIoT”.
Smartphones remain the cornerstone of the Xiaomi business, while AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) will play a meaningful role in building a “smart life”.
Xiaomi has worked with other entrepreneurs for years to establish an ecosystem and innovation solutions for users.
A smart home concept room is displayed at the 5G Ecosystem Innovation Centre at the Digital Economy Promotion Agency.
The company has 400 partners in planning, designing, manufacturing and using products in the ecosystem.
The number of smart devices connected to Xiaomi’s IoT platform reached 271 million units as of June, excluding smartphones and laptops.
The number of users who have five or more devices connected to the IoT platform (excluding smartphones and laptops) was over 5.1 million at the end of June, year-on-year growth of 63.9%.
Mi Home, a Xiaomi app for connected devices, had 40.8 million monthly active users in June, up 34.1% year-on-year.
The company’s smart TV plays a key role as a hub in controlling all connected smart devices.
Xiaomi’s global smart TV shipments rose to 2.8 million units in the second quarter, among the top five in the world.
The company said it remains committed to expanding its ecosystem products, ranging from smart hardware to lifestyle products.
A Xiaomi robotic vacuum cleaner is attached to a mirror station.