Smart Home

  • Chinese e-commerce colossus Alibaba has taken its first venture into developing artificial intelligence home devices by launching its voice assistant speaker, which has drawn comparisons to Amazon's 'Echo'.

  • Amazon and Microsoft announced that Alexa, Amazon’s AI personal assistant, will soon be able to communicate with Cortana, the personal assistant for Windows 10, and vice versa. Users of Amazon’s Alexa-controlled Echo speaker will be able to turn on their device and say, "Alexa, open Cortana," or turn to their Windows 10 device and say, "Cortana, open Alexa."

  • Apple's strategy in the 'smart home' race is being threatened by the continued success of Amazon. In less than twelve months, Amazon has developed the hugely successful Echo speaker system and the Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant. That has ensured Amazon as a major player in the battle for primacy in the connected household sector.

  • A Chinese smart home technology leader has signed a large contract with Orange as they seek to boost user experience with seamless IoT connectivity.

    Chuango Technology Security Corporation - a firm based in China officially announced the signature of its three-year deal with Orange Business Services.

  • The development of a new 'smart community' in Canada labelled one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken in the country is underway. REZ Real Estate officially confirmed that the construction of District Union, a project worth $900m has begun and signaling the emergence of a 'new smart, organic community' in the home of the Maple Leaf.

  • New research has suggested that UK homeowners have pinpointed home security as a top priority when exploring the prospect of investing in smart technology. The research which was conducted by One-Poll suggests that the demand for home security products and solutions will kick-start the 'smart home' revolution in the UK.

  • First announced at CES 2018, the Google Assistant is now available on LG's 2018 AI TV line-up. This includes both LG OLED TVs and LG SUPER UHD TVs with ThinQ AI, which will deliver cutting-edge AI features operated directly through the TV's remote control with no additional hardware required.

  • Nokia and China Mobile are deploying millions of home gateways to provide residential customers across 29 different provinces in China with access to fiber-based ultra-broadband applications and intelligent home services.

  • The use of malicious software to attack IoT devices like smart home security monitoring systems is rising substantially and growing more sophisticated as cyber criminals take advantage of lax security, Nokia's Threat Intelligence Report 2019 warned on Tuesday.

  • Linksys are celebrating 30 years of networking and Wi-Fi innovation for the home and business this year, and it has announced that there is rapid adoption of IoT in the Middle East with a growing number of people investing in smart devices for their home, according to latest study by Linksys on consumer Wi-Fi usage trends, ahead of GITEX Technology Week.

    The possibilities of IoT in the home are endless, from smart lighting and thermostats to smart fridges to machine learning devices. Linksys’ study shows there is growing use of voice assistants and TV signals that are primarily internet based.

    "The number of people using smart devices in the home is increasing rapidly, which means there is also a growing need to upgrade to bigger, faster home Wi-Fi systems," says Amanulla Khan, Managing Director Linksys Middle East, Turkey and Africa. "People may not realize that even if they only stream Netflix on a smart TV, it affects the overall Wi-Fi experience for others in the household by using bandwith."

    Smart TVs lead the way:
    According to the Linksys study, 85.4% of respondents from the Middle East own at least one smart TV, out of which 27.9% respondents own multiple smart TVs. UAE ranks above Saudi Arabia in the adoption of smart TVs, with 86.6% and 84.2% respondents respectively.

    Watching TV through the internet is very popular in the Middle East, with internet-based entertainment being the primary source of TV for 22.3% of respondents. This is widely seen in the UAE, among 26.8% of respondents, and 17.8% seen in Saudi Arabia. Subscribing to TV services is still big in the Middle East and the study highlights about 25.5% of Middle East respondents using their smart TVs for subscription-based TV services. Of this figure, 52.1% use it to download TV series and movies, and 31.4% use it to live-stream sport events.

    Voice Assistants on the rise:
    The use of chatbots and virtual assistants, commonly called voice assistants, is rapidly increasing. The use of voice assistants such as Amazon Echo, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home is on the rise, with 35.7% ownership amongst respondents.

    Other smart devices that have reached the 40% adoption barrier include connected security cameras and smart lighting, with 39.3% and 39.6% of Middle East respondents owning such devices respectively. While the use of smart doorbells is very popular - they are owned by almost half of the Middle East respondents (46.5%) -thermostats by Nest and Netatmo lag behind, with only 24.6% of respondents owning such devices.

    IoT device

    Middle East

    Smart TV

    85.4%

    Voice assistants

    35.7%

    Smart thermostats

    24.6%

    Connected security cameras

    39.3%

    Smart lighting

    39.6%

    Smart plugs

    41.6%

    Smart doorbells

    46.5%

    Smart switches

    39.6%

    The numbers by country:

    UAE
    Most likely (24%) of all to be classified as smart home adopters
    Most likely of all to own a smart or connected TV (87%), and smart plugs (43%)
    Most likely of all to consider purchasing a smart or connected TV (88%), and smart plugs (64%)

    Saudi Arabia
    Most likely (38%) of all to be classified as extreme smart home adopters
    Most likely of all to own smart doorbells (48%), smart lighting (42%), smart switches (41%), connected security cameras (40%), voice assistants (38%), and smart thermostats (27%)
    Most likely of all to consider purchasing smart lighting (68%), connected security cameras (67%), smart doorbells (63%), smart switches (63%), voice assistants (62%), and smart thermostats (47%)

    Living in the digital age, the internet is increasing a part of our daily lives and a new normal for all. Linksys’ study forecasts that 58.5% of respondents who don’t own any smart home devices are keen to adopt IoT in their homes, with UAE at 55% and Saudi Arabia at 62%. Adoption of smart lighting was higher, at 58%, and 52% of respondents are considering investing in this by 2020. The Middle East will see a steady adoption of voice assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, with 28.5% of respondents considering such a purchase by 2019.

    Khan explains: "While we are now talking smart lighting and voice asistants, in the next couple of years we’ll move to even smarter connected devices in the home driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Solutions include Phyn, a smart water management system that protects your home from leaks by learning from your usage, and Whirlpool’s smart kitchen range, which automatically preheats the oven and cooks dishes based on recipes. These innovations will accelerate the number of IoT devices in the home and also the need for up-to-speed Wi-Fi.

    Whoever wants a smart home needs to be smart and futureproof his or her home network too."

    During GITEX, visit the Linksys stand at Hall 1 of Dubai World Trade Centre - the trade fair will run from 14-18 October 2018. Visitors will be able to experience a smart home with Intelligent Mesh™ technology brought to reality by Award Winning Velop Whole Home Wi-Fi system with entry-level Dual-Band offerings. Linksys will also showcase a range of disruptive intelligent business solutions for SMBs.

  • South Korean multinational conglomerate Samsung has announced its intentions to open three new AI research centres. It officially announced its expansion plans via a statement - and disclosed that the new AI research facilities will be opened in the UK, Canada and Russia to add to the AI centres it already has in South Korea and the United States.

  • Amazon has announced details about developing a new smart home device aimed at fending off competition from market competitors Google and Apple. The world's largest online retailer is planning to capitalize even further on the surprising success of its voice-controlled home gadgets by introducing a new premium Echo-like speaker to the marketplace.