Four Lessons Learned from China’s Appliance & Electronics World Expo

2016-03-30_tobin_richardsonBy Tobin Richardson President & CEO of the Zigbee Alliance

Four Lessons Learned from China’s Appliance & Electronics World Expo
March 29, 2016

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Earlier this month I attended Appliance & Electronics World Expo (AWE) in Shanghai, and I returned with a new appreciation for the significant Zigbee Alliance growth opportunities in this region.

First, “smart” is definitely “in” for Chinese consumers, and devices enabled by Zigbee Alliance solutions are a big part of this trend – especially in the appliance space. There were numerous Zigbee-enabled devices on display at the conference, including a very large booth presence by Alliance member Wulian.

Second, while there continues to be a number of protocols battling for market share in China, the actual products on display at AWE generally used solutions from the Zigbee Alliance. Indicators from this conference point to the rapid growth of connected appliances in China during the coming year, and Zigbee protocols clearly play a prominent role in that trend. The Zigbee Alliance has a compelling solution for smart connectivity applications, and our members continue to work hard to communicate these values to the Chinese market.

My third take-away from AWE was the focus on platforms. One example is the JD Smart device platform, which is an open ecosystem of Chinese e-commerce company JD.com. Through its JD+ industry partner program, the company’s JD Smart business unit builds partnerships with traditional and early-stage hardware manufacturers around its seamless platform. Our Zigbee 3.0 solution is particularly appealing here because it delivers a unified communications solution that can be shared by many companies and includes a tested and certified applications layer essential for device-to-device interoperability. Especially important will be our device definitions, which will be integral for this type of market. A key focus for the Zigbee Alliance is to align Zigbee 3.0 with cloud-based platforms like JD Smart that represent a significant growth driver for smart home solutions in China.

Last but certainly not least among my observations from the show, AWE continues to be a great venue for networking, and we made many important connections throughout the week. I had the privilege of joining with Midea Smart and several other companies and industry associations that are working to further include our standards and collaborate with the Zigbee Alliance. There is a wide range of products and services that have, until now, not typically featured “smart” functionality. Our members have an opportunity to quickly drive adoption of connectivity in this expanding Internet of Things space, including areas like bathroom fixtures, stairwell lighting and other products and home appliances into the smart, connected home.

Watch for more news from the Zigbee Alliance as we move forward on these and other opportunities that emerge from a very enlightening week at AWE.

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