The smart home concept, to an extent, means that users have more remote control on hand, or more mobile apps, to command various home devices. And a powerful remote control able to talk with all devices will become a necessity eventually.
AIFA, a Taiwanese OEM that specializes in remote controls, has utilized its experience of over two decades in the field to launch its own product i-Ctrl, which can command all traditional home electronics via a smartphone app.
Having manufactured remote controls for various electronics firms around the world, AIFA has collected a large data set with infrared radiation digital codes. That is the secret behind i-Ctrl’s capability to control most traditional home appliances.
i-Ctrl is a UFO-like device which can transmit infrared signal at 360-degree horizontal angle and 180-degree vertical angle. A smartphone app connects to the device via home Wi-Fi. With setup completed for every device, the user will be able to command all the home electronics through just one mobile app.
For example, users can adjust air conditioning to the preferred temperature before arriving home; a guesthouse owner can turn off lights remotely instead of visiting each room after customer check-out.
The credit to the innovative product goes to AIFA’s R&D team and manufactories. The company is able to control product quality with its factories in Taiwan and China, and to set the price with its own Wi-Fi module product line and software development capability.
“There will be more smart home adoption in the consumer market when the product price gets lower,” said Mr. Ni, the president of AIFA.
After attending trade shows every year, Ni has seen many companies starting to wade into IoT since 2014, but smart home accounts for just 1% sales in the market now. “When the device price gets lower and more well-known brands enter the market, user adoption may see a growth between 2% and 5% in 2017,” said Ni.
AIFA’s partners are mostly located in Japan and Germany and they want the company to be an OEM or ODM. About 70% of AIFA’s revenues come from abroad as the company provides modules, turnkey solutions and customized products.
In a highly competitive environment filled with OEM players, AIFA wants to undergo a transformation, building its own brand and going directly to the consumer market.
In 2017, AIFA is expected to launch new products that support Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. Also, the company plans to roll out voice control with Chinese, Japanese and English language capabilities, which Ni said is already at the prototyping development stage.
“Our goal is to have a 50% revenue growth coming from the smart home market,” he said.