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Tracks, Players, and Success Models in the New Hardware Era

Tracks, Players, and Success Models in the New Hardware Era

The current technological advancements are coming out fast, especially since 2018 started. Global technology giants have since started speeding up the layout around the hardware industry. Major manufacturing companies, on the other hand, have also started releasing a wide range of industry consensus, and more and more apps are coming out for public use. 

A Few New Hardware & Artificial Things Today

If in 2015, the multi-axis unmanned aerial vehicles, driverless automobiles, and 3D printers were still technologies that were not developed and introduced, then the world would not have Japanese fire-fighting robots, near-zero-power electronic papers, and smart doors. It is also the case with Boston Dynamics agile bipeds, Terrafugia flying cars, motorbikes, and other wearables that measure skin sweat. If they weren’t made to improve people’s lives, then the world would still be struggling with a lot of things. 

Product Development, Design for Manufacturing, Product Development & Design for Manufacturing, IOT Solutions, IOT Solutions & Service Providers

For others, new hardware may simply be man-made things that physically exist. They may also consider them as sort of unheard objects in the past that have never been seen before.

Here’s what they do not know. These emerging products are way beyond what they fathom. These products have the ability to collect, process, and connect information, not only to perform advanced functions like intelligent sensing, interaction, and big data services, but also as a critical milestone for new technologies, such as Artificial intelligence

Although driven by certain macroeconomic factors, including technology, policy, and economy, China’s smart hardware market has retained a year-on-year growth rate of more than 20%, which is categorized under the rapid development stage. It is further expected that the industry scale of China’s smart hardware will exceed 500 billion for the first time in 2018. The country’s global market share is also expected to surpass 30%. 

Global Smart Hardware Unicorn Companies Are Doubling Distribution 

Thanks to technological innovations and unparalleled product development, global unicorn companies are experiencing a positive outbreak. As a matter of fact, more than half of them are closely on the forefront of the tech industry.

According to the statistics from CB Insight compiled by Evergrande Research Institute, from 2013 to March 2018, there are 237 unicorn companies worldwide. From the data, it is found that 118 of these companies are from the United States. They are accounted for 49.78%. It is then followed by 63 companies from China, which is accounted 26.16%. 

China and the United States are obviously the power duo of global unicorn companies.

Since the intelligent hardware industry involve many connections, it is becoming difficult to start a business. Even so, through artificial intelligence, manufacturers, Internet giants, communication companies, home appliances companies, and startup companies managed to enter the intelligent hardware market.

All this is possible through the intelligent transformation of traditional products and the development of new intelligent products. With all their effort, they were able to deploy intelligent hardware themselves.  

From the perspective of successful models, most of the US intelligent hardware unicorns have acquired profound technical background, and the underlying technology they use has become known for its strong innovation strength.  

China’s intelligent hardware unicorn companies are better at innovation in business models, such as  Mobike  bicycles . In less than two years,  Mobike  bicycles  successfully become a unicorn company. It is criticized that enterprises like them, lacked the process of building their pedestals in the early The stage of development as they relied on radical business strategies and the power of capital to run all the way. But the supply chain is relatively weak, and the contradiction of production capacity remains outstanding.  

Now, if we look at things from the perspective of financing difficulty, US smart hardware startups are more difficult to finance. Although the US capital market is highly developed, the market size and investment cases are significantly higher than China’s. The reason behind is that the VC investment in the United States is mainly concentrated in the fields of software and medicine.  

If we go back to 2017, we see that the investment in the US intelligent hardware sector accounted for less than 3% of the total investment. And looking at the valuation of the companies in the United States, although low, it is clear that the gold content is high. 

At the same time, China’s capital market is growing rapidly. In the field of intelligent hardware, enterprises that have mastered some core technologies and better industrial layouts have received much attention. Investment institutions are even going above and beyond because they have to adopt more radical methods to obtain excess returns.  

Fast forward to 2018, China’s smart hardware sector seemed to have absorbed more than 10% of investment. In general, the valuation of these Chinese companies, is really high but the gold content is the other way around. 

Breaking through Information Islands: Human-Computer Interaction Mode Is More Natural 

If we observe the TOP20 category of intelligent hardware sales from 2015 to 2018, we notice that the intelligent hardware products cover many fields, such as smart home, smart travel, and smart medical care. And with the development of the Internet of Things, smart products also continue to break through information islands, and applications tend to be more inclined.  

Internet giants, IOT solutions & service providers, and other technology giants use their user resources and platform advantages to deploy interconnected intelligent hardware platforms. All of them continuously expand by creating such sorts of products and brands in the platform. Fortunately, with the popularity of market education, users began to adapt, purchase, and connect smart hardware products from the platform. 

Judging from the explosion products in the recent years, small and beautiful smart hardware products, such as smart bracelets, body fats, etc., have emerged. And interestingly, they have been described by users to have high quality and low price.  

Since 2015, security, home health concept enhancement, security cameras, driving recorders, smart water purifiers, air purifiers, smart rice cookers, balance cars, drones and other products continue to improve the DIY function, allowing consumers to connect to a unified assistant.  

The demand for these products is gradually increasing as well. In fact, in 2018, smart speakers have become the fastest growing category among the smart home devices. Smart door locks have attracted the attention of the capital market in 2018. They have been applied to smart campuses, long-term rental apartments, public rental houses, The “smart cloud lock” solution for self-service hotels and smart homes has also quickly landed. Networked lighting products have become the key to consumers entering the smart home lighting market to some extent with the rapid decline in price and the combination with smart lighting and smart sockets. 

At present, many key technologies of intelligent hardware based on artificial intelligence are still in the exploration period and market start-up period, but it is forecasted that they will gradually mature in the next 5-10 years. Machine learning, speech recognition, computer vision, 8K TV technology, and other technologies will gradually improve and be applied to their corresponding hardware products.  

Techniques such as speech recognition have since made great progress, and various explosions of intelligent hardware are undergoing an upgrade from touch interaction to voice interaction. For example, in an in-vehicle environment, voice interaction has inherent advantages, such as remote manipulation, driving, etc., to achieve the role of liberating hands in a specific scene. 

Countermeasure: Joint Manufacturing Makers Break the Margin of Industry Capability 

The “Super Matthew Effect” is a very universal law in the Internet world. In a subdivided field, “one to two, not three or four” means that after the third place, the commercial nutrition drawn from the market will be seriously scarce, and those with more production capacity will become hard to find in the market.  

China, for instance, is an excellent manufacturing country, but a large part of its excellent manufacturing capacity will face the trap of being difficult to be discovered by the market in the Internet era. In a more technical sense, traditional door locks can be used to develop networking functions for remote control, but for a traditional manufacturer that specializes in door lock manufacturing, the marginal cost will increase dramatically. How do we adapt to the objective needs of the “new hardware era” and complete the self-innovation of traditional production capacity? 

Again, the intelligent hardware industry involves many connections, making it difficult to start a business from scratch. The technology-oriented intelligent hardware businesses not only need the protection of intellectual property rights, judicial systems, and administrative systems. They also need the enthusiasm of the platform that is keen on incubation. In the case of the United States, the new hardware era is a new form of industry in which geeks and makers are the main participants and hardware is the expression.  

The United States provides a variety of incubators for makers. It is more like a university internship factory. It has a variety of advanced equipment, such as workbench and precision instruments. All the raw materials needed by the makers can be quickly obtained from the incubator. From the prototype to the final commercial package, all the supporting work is done in the incubator. The maker can often create designs for manufacturing, but with VC funding, the prototypes without any commercial value can be quickly iterated. It will soon be possible to see products with commercial value tomorrow. 

China’s Internet business needs makers, and China’s new hardware business needs makers. In the face of the extrusion of giant companies, the new intelligent hardware makers must find the seams that the elephants can’t step on. It can be said that “there are big difficulties and small benefits”. Products that represent the future will inevitably experience a process from scratch, from parasitic to self-profit, from weak to strong. Therefore, innovative small enterprises should rely on capital and one-stop hardware supply platform for resource search and product output. 

The new hardware era is more suitable for the tastes of manufacturing industrialists. The interoperability and expandability of the cloud have made the empowerment of Internet technology easier. “In the future, 90% of manufacturing will be on the Internet”, and the industry will become more promising for traditional manufacturer.  

The supply chain and manufacturing industrialists should be the key players in the industrial manufacturing AI upgrade transformation on the intelligent manufacturing track. Therefore, the traditional manufacturing enterprises need not be the road to the Internet; the future is a world that is good at making things simple. To be there, we can take advantage of what Internet companies can do and use smart technology companies. 

Looking into the future, we can say that the wave of intelligence has enormous opportunities. In the next few years, it is likely that the scene of intelligent life will not just appear in science fiction movies. 


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