Where Is the Road of Smart Life

The emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will enable intelligent control and management on an increasing number of devices that are widely used in family life, including cars, air conditioners, TVs, door locks, light bulbs, and sockets. Let's assume that you are with all of your family members on vacation, and you receive a water leak notification on your mobile phone. You can use a smart life app to generate a temporary unlock password and send this to maintenance personnel so that they can repair the leak. If, in another scenario, your pet gets lost. You can use your mobile phone to track and quickly locate your pet. Intelligent control and management can make life much easier. Whenever you are on your way home, the air conditioner and electric water heater can be automatically turned on, ready for you when you arrive.

Three Major Problems Troubling Home Users

Currently, all household appliance manufacturers and platform vendors are actively exploring the smart life market with the help of IoT technologies. However, these efforts do not fully meet the needs of end users.

Although end users have a more convenient life by using smart devices, public data shows that, even in London, only 52% of families are using smart devices. Why are these numbers so low? There are three major problems:

Invisible to users: Let's use metering as an example. Readings for water, electricity, and gas tables in every house are now remotely uploaded to water, electric, and gas companies. However, these readings are not provided to residents for real-time viewing. End users do not see the benefits of smart reading.

Poor user experience: This is especially true for household appliances. When users purchase smart household appliances of different brands, they need to install the respective apps of these appliances. These apps differ greatly in style, forcing users to learn how to use each of these different apps. In addition, cross-vendor device linkage development is slow. In some cases, you might think that the lights in the living room will automatically turn on when you return home at night. However, this is often not the case, because of stagnation in collaboration between cross-brand smart devices.

Security risks: In recent news reports, many families that installed remote surveillance cameras in their living rooms for protection unwittingly found that the screenshots of their living rooms appeared on some websites. This leak of personal privacy makes end users even more suspicious of smart devices. It is imperative that a way is found to protect smart devices from being illegally operated or attacked.

Operators Are in a Unique Position to Tackle Users' Problems

As smart life covers more aspects of everyday life and the types of devices are quickly growing, Huawei believes that operators are more capable and suitable for developing smart home services, thanks to the following advantages:

Natural cross-industry integration capabilities: Due to service attribute barriers and pressure from competition, smart home manufacturers find it difficult to spontaneously develop services. For example, a water meter manufacturer and refrigerator manufacturer belong to different industries and have different sales channels and target customers. However, the end users of both are home users. Therefore, such manufacturers lack motivation and awareness to actively explore service packages. Different from these manufacturers, operators have carried out end-to-end (E2E) planning and deployment to ensure that their communication networks can provide access to devices and applications. Operators have the capability to perform cross-industry interconnection and integration.

Extensive customer base: Operators already have home broadband users and rich channel resources in different regions. They can add smart home services to existing broadband services and bind smart home services with home broadband or mobile packages, quickly promoting services to existing home users.

Reliable service experience: Operators have controllable network pipe resources when developing smart home services on their own broadband networks. They can provide guaranteed bandwidth and priority services for self-operated smart home services. This will present home users with an optimal service experience.

Trustworthy security and privacy protection: As national infrastructure providers, operators enforce E2E security specifications and perform rigid security network access tests for devices, networks, platforms, and applications. Therefore, they have huge advantages when it comes to user privacy protection and security.

Powerful customer service capabilities: Operators can sell smart home services through online and offline customer service and call centers. They can also provide onsite design and installation as well as long-term after-sales services. Their trained customer service personnel can quickly solve problems that users encounter when using smart home services, which will create convenient service experience, handling, provisioning, and maintenance for home users.

Huawei Helps Operators Provide Smart Life

Huawei has helped multiple operators roll out smart home services in a variety of countries and regions such as Latin America, the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Hong Kong. Huawei will also help operators roll out smart home services in Indonesia and Turkey soon. In 2018, Huawei further expanded the concept of Smart Life, in turn enabling operators to expand their personal home market and ability to provide smart life.

Figure 1-1 Overview of the Huawei Smart Life Solution

Unified app:The Smart Life app provides linkage control and management for smart devices that are provided by different industries and vendors. The app covers all aspects of life, from eating to traveling, and covers these aspects in different scenarios whether you are at home, on a trip, or in the office.

Multiple access modes: Smart devices use different networking modes to implement remote sensing and control due to different working environments and service models. For example, cameras, infrared intrusion detectors, water sensors, and smoke sensors use short-distance wireless communication protocols (Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave) to access home broadband gateways. On the other hand, water meters, electricity meters, gas meters, door locks, and tracking devices use long-distance wireless access such as NB-IoT and eMTC; vehicles use 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE-V access.

Huawei provides a local smart home gateway to supply unified convergence of smart devices that use wireless short-distance protocols and a remote cloud inter-networking gateway (CIG) to implement unified convergence of smart devices that use wireless long-distance protocols. This ensures quick access and plug-and-play of a variety of smart devices.

Open platform: Huawei provides an open IoT platform to implement cross-industry data aggregation and integration. Mass industry data related to end users can be opened to smart life applications through the platform. The platform can also interconnect with third-party cloud platforms to implement unified control and management of devices connected to these third-party cloud platforms.

E2E high security: Huawei provides cloud-pipe-device security protection, adopts strict authentication mechanisms, and enforces E2E pipe encryption, data isolation, and cloud storage encryption to prevent privacy leak and attacks.

Extensive ecosystem: Huawei establishes a three-level certification system (Compatible, Enabled, and Validated) to help partners' products become mature. In addition, Huawei has actively worked to develop relationships with ecosystem partners in the smart life field and has collaborated with more than 100 partners by this point.

The wide application of voice recognition and semantic understanding technologies will realize voice control and communication of smart devices. Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) will further subvert human-machine interaction, making communication between people and devices smoother and friendlier. Big data will detect all actions and behavior of users in real time and enable smart life services to develop from passive to active. Eventually, people will master smart life. Huawei has and will continue to apply new ICT technologies to family life, with the goal of enabling transformation from smart home to smart life. This will help people enjoy an unparalleled life style.