With smart homes becoming more common, ZTE VP of Home Media Center Product Tang Wei speaks to IBC365 about what the Chinese vendor is doing in this space.

TANG Wei landscape

Tang Wei: Smart home industry is in a critical period

With smart homes becoming more common, ZTE VP of Home Media Center Product Tang Wei speaks to IBC365 about what the Chinese vendor is doing in this space.

In recent years, smart home services have developed rapidly. Some ideas that used to seemed crazy and disruptive have gradually pushed them to where they are now. With current smart home products, do you think there are still any difficulties or bottlenecks?

I think there are two major difficulties. One is the poor connectivity and interoperability of devices. The other is the limited number of intelligent scenarios. In addition, to realise smart home services, cross-brand, cross-device and cross-protocol interactions are required, which largely impacts the smart home experience.

Could you please tell us what smart home solutions will ZTE bring to this IBC?

The smart home industry is going through a critical period. New products are emerging one after another, and a fierce price war is raging. We keep thinking about and explore the strategies for the company to deliver differentiated customer experience. In an era of Internet of Everything, the whole-home broadband facilitates the family interconnection, and the whole-home voice control promotes family interaction. For the operators’ two major home devices, whole-home broadband and whole-home voice control are the evolution trends of the future smart homes. At this IBC, ZTE will present the Whole-Home Voice solution. This solution can actually achieve a wide variety of services at any time. Wi-Fi is everywhere at home. And with the whole-home voice control, you can enjoy home entertainment everywhere at any time.

Could you please tell us about the market value and higlights of this product?

As the number of smart voice terminals increases in a household, the interaction problems between voice devices and cross interference within certain sound pickup range become more common. ZTE’s Whole-Home Voice Solution can achieve unified control with one account so that users in a home can share features. Users do not need to care about locations of devices and the functional differences between different devices. For example, you can voice control the air-conditioner in the bedroom while watching TV in the living room, so that you can enjoy a comfortable temperature when you go to bed.

The Whole-Home Voice Solution can help operators further explore in smart home, and bring a convenient, comfortable, and cost-effective user experience to end users. So far, the solution has already been put into large-scale commercial use in the Hunan and Shaanxi Branches of China Telecom, Fujian Branch of China Mobile, and Shanxi Branch of China Unicom. With the rapid development of AI technology, the Whole-Home Voice Solution will be widely promoted in the smart home industry.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

The living environment is an important part of life. The change of connectivity between people and the living environment will also change the world. ZTE aims to use its innovative technologies and aesthetics to create a more efficient and convenient smart home experience, and to ultimately make life better.

What are the technology innovations of ZTE’s whole-home voice solution?

ZTE adds the AI technology to some home devices so that they can have AI capabilities. We have adopted far-field voice technology on set-top boxes, smart speakers, Soundbar speakers, and control panels, so that mutual recognition and networking are available between different devices, and distributed voice recognition is achieved. We have also adopted voiceprint recognition to ensure the security of user operations. The requests from each device are managed by the central control home device for intelligent decision-making. Therefore, features can be shared and the user can receive responses from the nearest device. We also support offline voice recognition. Without connection to the cloud voice platform, you can voice control the smart home in the home LAN.

What solution does ZTE provide for cross-device connectivity in smart homes?

The cross-device connectivity in smart homes is a technical conundrum. Devices of different brands use different connection protocols, so they are unable to connect with or control one another. However, ZTE’s smart home voice-control devices support almost all the IoT protocols, for example, Wi-Fi mesh, zigbee, zwave, and bt mesh. They can adapt to the access of different IoT devices, and can also provide protocol conversion for different devices. Our smart voice control system supports the connectivity protocol stack of multiple voice platforms. It has a dual-mode capability to connect to both the public and private cloud voice platforms. For example, to implement voice control of IPTV, the devices we provide for China Telecom are connected to the operator’s private cloud voice platform through a private network. Meanwhile, they are also connected to the public cloud voice platform for music, information search, and other smart home scenarios. The central control devices switch between different service scenarios automatically and flexibly, offering a unified user interface to users. And operators do not need to transform their existing voice platforms. The public cloud voice platform also provides a wide range of OTT audio content and open IoT connectivity