Super Devices in a Super Seamless World: What does the next five years hold?

A major impact of the pandemic wasn’t just from a social point of view, but from an economic and technological one, too.

Across the past 18 months, a technological revolution has been happening before our eyes, faster than any other in history.

Strategic lockdowns, social distancing, and strict quarantine rules forced us to seek technical assistance in almost every aspect of daily life. From social engagements to governance, every component of societal fabric had to resuscitate itself through technology. 

This has made the Internet of Things (IoT) or the “Connected World”, even more prominent – where everything that benefits from being connected, will be connected. 

A ticking time-bomb

Laying the groundwork for an All-Connected World was the main theme at this year’s Huawei Developer Conference 2021, held at Songshan Lake, Dongguan in China. With 150 million HarmonyOS devices developed in a single year, Huawei’s ambitions on connecting the world through IoT and Smart Home are pretty clear in an industry which seems to be sitting on a time-bomb at the moment. 

Right now, IoT stands at the brink of a new horizon. It’s come a long way from being just a buzzword a decade ago to almost a mass market technology. What happens in the next five years will be a crucial deciding factor for the mass market adoption of IoT. 

For most of us, the household of today is not just bricks and mortar, it’s an interconnected network of smart decision-making devices. IoT has accelerated the growth of a “Smart Life” by providing convenience through automation of day-to-day tasks. From not having to touch a light switch again, to ensuring that your energy bills are not skyrocketing, the initial promise of IoT is to make our lives more sustainable, efficient, and safer. It’s clear that there’s huge consumer demand for IoT devices that can make our lives as seamless as possible.

A fragmented market that needs innovation

However, although the spending on IoT and Smart Home devices is growing steadily each year (Frost & Sullivan), almost 40% of us cite the three biggest factors hindering the adoption of Smart Home as high set-up costs, high maintenance costs, and complexity in usage. This is because the core infrastructure of IoT has not evolved with the evolving challenges in the market. The “Total Experience” in IoT is still a missing component for the end-users. 

The main reason this is a fragmented market is that it’s lacking a uniform user experience. The devices in our households are from a mix of different device makers. They talk in multiple languages and don’t run similar operating systems. Due to this, a lot of the fundamental parts of the user experience still need further development and innovation. 

All hail the Super Device 

As the IoT market evolves, Huawei envisages a world that has at least 20 billion connected smart home devices. HDC 2021 for example saw the release of the HarmonyOS 3 Developer Preview, the latest version of HarmonyOS. It focuses on three core aspects: elastic deployment, one-time development for multi-device deployment, and Super Devices. While elastic deployment and one-time multi-device development would help developers to write feature rich applications with fewer lines of code, the announcement of Super Devices is in line with the main trend driving the industry in the next five years – usability and interoperability. 

Super Devices address both these trends, and would enable all the devices in a household to seamlessly connect and operate as though they were a part of a single device. This is different from what exists in the market today. Having to connect devices requires complex operations, and the data transfer among these devices must go through many barriers. Super Devices would overcome this challenge through super-terminals that virtualize the resources of all the devices in the network and ensure that these resources are shared among all the devices securely. 

What’s next?

A decade ago, social media and e-commerce industries saw the boom that the IoT and Smart Home industry is facing right now, but the big question is – will the picture be the same 10 years from now, despite all the problems faced in IoT? 

The answer is a big yes, as ‘Smart Home’ is already considered to be a mainstream technology with a predicted 2025 value of over $400.3 billion (IDC). 

It’s also not just the big consumer electronics or technology companies that are dipping their feet into IoT and Smart Home – insurance companies, utilities and telecom operators are also getting into the game. 

With this kind of data, the IoT technology revolution seems to be showing signs of promise, but there are still substantial market entry barriers for mass-market consumers. Super Devices would give it a much-needed boost and user buy-in, and we can’t wait to see how this tech evolves. Watch this space!

If you’d like to learn more about the work that Huawei is doing in the IoT and Smart Home space, you can find out more here: HarmonyOS

About the Author

Suhail Khan is Director of Development, Programming and Engineering, Huawei CBG (Consumer Business Group). Suhail is an IoT industry leader with vast experience in scaling IoT products and software services, within both blue chips and innovative start-ups. He’s worked across diverse industries such as Business Software, Renewable Energy, and Smart Home. Currently, Suhail is transforming the IoT consumer business of Huawei in Europe, as the Director of Development, Programming and Engineering. In addition, he manages different teams of IoT experts, solution architects, and developers located across four locations in Europe – Munich, Duesseldorf, Warsaw and Helsinki. His teams are responsible for enabling cutting edge IoT solutions for the ecosystem partners of Huawei within the Smart Home, Automotive, Healthcare, and Robotics industries.