Tuya Smart was the sole IoT solutions provider and smart platform creator invited by the organizer of the World Internet Conference (WIC) and China Central Television (CCTV) to provide insights into the two topics that were the themes of the event: artificial intelligence (AI) and globalized intelligent manufacturing.
World Internet Conference
On December 4, Tuya Smart COO and Tuya Smart USA president Yang Yi, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tencent CEO Ma Huateng, Netease.com CEO Ding Lei, Sohu CEO Charles Zhang and Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun, among other top-level executives from some of the world’s leading internet firms, attended the event. Global smart platform Tuya Smart, recognized for its outstanding contribution to the intelligent manufacturing and AI sectors, was invited to give a speech themed “New Intelligent Businesses in the New Era” at the AI-focused session. Mr. Yang said during his speech that the innovation in technology is the key to the transformation from “Made in China” to “From Smart China” and cited as illustrations Aliyun’s breakthroughs in terms of internet data centers and how QR turned traditional payment services on their heads. Products incorporating China-originated intelligent manufacturing strategies are now available the world over. However, a technology platform cannot be considered as one that has succeeded unless there is complete and total ease of use, or, to put it another way, not even an iota of a barrier between the platform and the user. Tuya Smart aims to build a smart platform that meets this objective in all respects and engage every company across the manufacturing spectrum in intelligent manufacturing.
Tuya Smart COO and Tuya Smart USA president Yang Yi
Since identifying the synergies between intelligent manufacturing and new retail at the IoT Intelligentize Conference that Tuya Smart itself hosted on October 26, besides the WIC, the smart platform creator has received invitations from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), as well as many of the top players in Silicon Valley, in addition to other leading organizations within China and around the world. Before delivering the AI-focused keynote speech, Mr. Yang had received an invitation from CCTV to give a 30-minute live presentation in English about the event. As part of the live interview, Mr. Yang shared with the CCTV and British journalists in attendance his views on the ongoing transformation of the meaning of “Made in China” as well as the status of and trends influencing AI.
When asked by the host about the future of the manufacturing industry and AI, Mr. Yang said,
“At every one of the sessions of this important international conference, the WIC, the topic kept returning to the all important themes of the “digital economy” and “open and sharing”, which facilitated the fusion of internet, big data and AI, as well as how this fusion helped the digital economy grow rapidly.
I believe that in China, today and as we look into the future, the continued development of the manufacturing sector has become and will continue to be the cornerstones of the internet, IoT, AI and big data, while, in turn, these new technologies will be the engine that drives the next surge of growth across the sector.
Over the last two years, China’s manufacturing sector has been moving quickly towards intelligent manufacturing. Leading home appliance makers, including Changhong, Haier, TCL and Midea, have already built out their smart product lines. In addition, a wide spectrum of traditional manufacturers are embarking on their transformation to intelligent manufacturing in response to the government’s supply-side reform.
AI is undoubtedly one of the new drivers behind the development of the manufacturing sector. According to data provided by research organizations working closely with Tuya Smart, the smart platform creator has helped several major brands successfully transition into an intelligent hardware environment, with one percent of their growth in sales of the relevant product lines directly attributable to the effort. Some medium-sized companies that Tuya Smart worked with experienced sales growth exceeding 50 percent. Consequently, it has become apparent that AI has become the key to the transformation of traditional manufacturing.
At the same time, in terms of the country’s transition to intelligent manufacturing, what started out as a rocky road has, over the last two years, gradually become much more smooth going. When the first steps of the transformation were initiated, leading manufacturers from every sector were eager to invest in intelligent manufacturing, however, consumers were still highly skeptical of the new intelligent products and expressed reluctance in getting on board. In addition, the challenges facing adoption included disunity in terms of setting standards, immaturity of the industry chain, instability of the overall system and a high threshold for entry.
The reasons behind the challenges, I think, include, first of all, the technology barrier and a lack of cooperation among manufacturers, which resulted in the consumers quickly becoming frustrated when faced with the difficulty of managing the various interfaces and control devices in anything that resembled a unified way. Secondly, an industry is not likely to move up to the next level if it grows independently of the support that it needs from external resources. The establishment of an ecosystem is necessary in providing consumers with a better smart home experience, regardless of whether the provider is a major player or a small start up. This can be seen, for example, in Xiaomi’s stores, each one of which it manages directly, demonstrating the ecosystem’s capability in injecting new momentum into the industry. In my opinion, every player across each industry needs to agree on and roll out fully integrated communications protocols. In addition to enhancements to product safety, cloud computing and big data will help companies build their own ecosystems and provide consumers with new experiences in every corner of their intelligent home.
Concurrent with China’s transition into intelligent manufacturing, AI technology has been staking out its own sizeable claim over the last few years. For example, even as Amazon Echo and Google Home have attracted wide attention, more than one million units of Tmall Genie, an AI-based intelligent voice terminal developed by Alibaba AI Labs, have been shipped. According to data from the AI industry whitepaper published by International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading global provider of market intelligence, expenditures on AI technology worldwide are expected to reach 275.8 billion yuan (approx. US$41.7 billion) by 2020, with China representing 12 percent or 32.5 billion yuan (approx. US$4.9 billion) of the total, demonstrating China’s leadership position. We can see huge potential in the field as the Chinese government continues to support AI projects initiated by the country’s three internet leaders, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. In addition to the smart home, finance, translation and speech, AI technology will be applied in the healthcare, security, logistics and mobility markets. However, limitations remain in terms of what the algorithm technology can deliver and we need to address them, including further developing the algorithms’ inferential capability in accurately deducing the meaning of speech and in addressing the pathology underlying cancer and other diseases. As we look further into the future, it will behoove us to face and resolve legal and ethical issues that will arise as a result of the widespread adoption of the technology.
I am familiar with intelligent manufacturing in China and AI topics as Tuya Smart emerged virtually out of nowhere and has since been playing a key role in helping products made in China improve their capabilities in terms of IoT and AI while, at the same time, becoming increasingly globalized. Although the firm is yet small, Tuya Smart has now become the world’s largest intelligent platform. Our dedicated team of over 160 are helping customers expand into overseas markets, including Changhong, Seashell, Delixi, Xenon, Eboy, iO.e Light and Beca, to name a handful of the leading companies that work with us. As our business continues to grow, we will undertake a strategic upgrade this year. We are helping customers improve their performance in terms of marketing, management and capital by moving the marketing and the operation of their businesses to the platform. As a consequence, we are heading to Silicon Valley and CES in Las Vegas, the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show, along with our customers and partners.
We provide services to over 2,000 customers across 200 countries and regions, with customer concentrations in Japan, Southeast Asia, the USA and Europe, helping them to improve their product offerings. We handle over 20 billion device requests with over 5 million AI interactions daily, generating up to one petabyte (PB) of data every day. We will continue to expand our customer base beyond the current 2,000 companies as we are a technology-driven platform. In the future, we expect to serve multiple thousands of firms. Although the huge market we intend to build is a major challenge, Tuya Smart, a startup company, is honored to be a part of China’s intelligent manufacturing strategy.”