Smart White Goods
Smart household appliance vendors have a number of absolute requirements. A number of conditions have been proposed to prevent unauthorized cross-region transshipment of appliances or unreasonable price setting by regional sellers, which may adversely affect profits. This is accomplished by enabling products to periodically report location data as the goods are being transported (with a positioning accuracy of 200 meters).
Smart household appliance vendors also intend to use networks to collect device fault data for post-purchase maintenance services, and to help improve future device design. As almost all white goods are to be placed indoors, vendors need a network with great coverage performance. The terminal activation rate and the online rate of these appliances are two particular considerations, which must be carefully examined. The large number of white goods connections (tens of millions per vendor per year) requires a real-time processing capability of tens of millions of connections. Vendors also require the network to be highly secure to prevent simultaneous access and control by people other than the owner.
Based on a smart home appliance platform, vendors hope to build their own ecosystems (including kitchen ecosystem, body care ecosystem, and home theater ecosystem). The introduction of these ecosystems will help launch diversified Online to Offline (O2O) services. For example, vendors can monitor the real-time status of appliances, push fault information to end users, and promptly provide repair services via a powerful offline service platform. Moreover, venders can effectively utilize the collected appliance information and platform ecosystem surveys to deliver tailored consumer to business (C2B) services.
Existing smart white goods use Wi-Fi, which cannot serve the current requirements of household appliance vendors. First, Wi-Fi is an insufficient technology and is not able to meet mobility requirements. The locations of white goods from factories to households cannot be monitored, and unauthorized transshipment cannot be controlled. Second, poor Wi-Fi coverage means that white goods placed at corners in washrooms and kitchens often cannot receive Wi-Fi signals. Wi-Fi-based appliances suffer from a low online availability due to password or router changes. As home Wi-Fi limits the number of simultaneous connections, a number of the appliances cannot access Wi-Fi when the maximum number of household connections is reached. As a result, white goods are frequently disconnected and the network access rate is invariably low. Statistics show that the online availability of smart white goods has dropped to less than 5% in three years, too low to realize the full spectrum benefits of smart white goods. Last but not least, Wi-Fi passwords can be easily hacked, leading to insecure appliance connections.
NB-IoT Enables Smart White Goods
NB-IoT has many advantages over Wi-Fi for smart white goods. The NB-IoT-based Smart White Goods Solution can manage the entire lifecycle of household appliances, from manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, and retailing to application and maintenance. The solution is available as soon as there is network access. It does not require configuration. This easy setup results in a high online availability. It also features inherently high mobility and reports location data periodically (through the base stations) as the goods are being transported. This on-the-go location data prevents unauthorized cross-regional transshipment. Sellers cannot profit from setting different prices for different regions, which cuts into the profits of household appliance vendors.
The NB-IoT-based Smart White Goods Solution runs on operator networks. It allows for massive connections and offers large network capacity, wide coverage, and high online availability for household appliances. This solution enables vendors and users to remotely monitor the usage and status of household appliances. It helps maintenance personnel remotely position and maintain all connected appliances. Cellular networks are used to collect device fault data for post-purchase maintenance services, and to help improve future device design.
The solution can utilize the usage data of white goods for big data analysis, provide household appliance vendors with value-added services, and explore new business opportunities.
Huawei has partnered with Haier and Little Swan to perform interconnection tests. 50,000 pieces of smart white goods are expected to be shipped by the end of 2017.