The global smart home has really hit its stride. Even the big boys _ Google, Apple and Samsung _ are all head over heels looking to make a statement. According to a study released by Juniper Research, the smart home market will reach a staggering $71 billion by 2018.
So who are amongst the drivers behind the move toward mass adoption? For one, Taiwan makers are very much onboard the smart home bandwagon, providing new features and solutions that help push the industry into the next generation as our homes become the hub for smarter living.
The smart home arena in Taiwan is a colorful representation of those in the know. It can generally be summed up by three types of players. First, there are those that are already IT and networking experts in their respective fields, providing gateways, home cameras and cloud services for telcos, MSOs, retailers, SIs, and IT distributors respectively. Companies falling into this category include D-Link, Gemtek, Advantech, Sercomm, AlphaNetworks, Chicony, Liteon, and JSW, just to name a few.
Secondly, there are those carried over from the traditional security sector. Companies like BarvoTech, Lilin, StarVedia, Amegia, Vivotek, ACTeck, GKB, AMTK and Pixord are some examples of those who offered home cameras, NAS, or home NVRs for security distributors, alarm monitoring companies and SIs. Due to their earlier presence, these companies are well positioned globally by name and expertise in the security arena.
On further note, Unitech, Climax, Everspring, Amroad and Touchlife are some of the veterans in the intercom and anti-theft fields who have since been making PIR sensors, wireless alarm kits, video door phones, control panels and HA solutions for security distributors and SIs, alarm monitoring companies, or home automation SIs. These experts are all vying for smart home solutions through enhanced user experiences.
Over the years, the island has carved out a distinctive niche as the worlds pre-eminent high-tech manufacturing hub. But due to price competition from neighboring countries and other underlying factors, manufacturing hardware alone can no longer sustain its competitive edge.
But thanks to these experiences coupled with Taiwans design talents, Taiwan smart home makers are known for their ability to conduct OEM/ODM on customized projects. Taiwan makers are well-positioned to tackle the flourishing smart home market, since they can utilize their technology and manufacturing capability to reinvent everyday household objects to solve actual problems.
_Taiwans advantage is in customized projects because our hardware and software are already in place,î said Amegia CEO Kevin Wu, a leading OEM/ODM provider dedicated to the integration and customization of surveillance solutions.
Amegia, whos been providing different modules and solutions ever since its inception 5 years ago, sees itself as free from the price fray.
_Price competition is an issue we have to confront in the smart home sector,î Wu said, adding that the only solution is in customization.
Taiwans smart home makers are striving to distinguish their products from competitors through differentiation strategies. In an often crowded product market, customers crave product distinctions to help them make purchasing decisions. By offering greater values and customization features, many of Taiwans producers have come to understand that the best product differentiation strategies increase their company image, cater to customer preferences and increase sales.
Also, because smart home is a very personalized thing, customization is important for future sustainability, according to Climax Technology director of new business development Y.K. Chen.
Coming from a professional intrusion alarm background, Climax is a wireless expert that provides total turnkey solutions with regard to user interfaces, gateways and cloud service.
With the smart home market in China currently on the rise, Chinese makers of smart home products already number in the thousands. In order for Taiwan makers to compete with such a scale and to avoid price competition, product differentiation is definitely the key factor, Chen explained.
_In terms of the scale of the smart home market in China, the quantity is there. But it lacks variety because everyone is churning out similar hardware specs.î
_Smart home basically means smart living, which also means personalized features. Therefore, customization is the key to future sustainability,î Chen concluded.