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AIFA i-Ctrl turns all infrared devices smart

AIFA i-Ctrl turns all infrared devices smart
Many of today’s home appliances are controllable via an infrared remote, which means they are not smart, or controllable via voice command or smartphone app. However, all this can be easily changed using AIFA Technology’s i-Ctrl box.

i-Ctrl is a UFO-shaped device that stores infrared signals of electronics brands from around the world. It is also embedded with a Wi-Fi module, allowing it to talk to smartphones and voice devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.
Ni Wen-lu, General Manager
of AIFA Technology

AIFA has worked on remote transmission signal for 25 years, with clients from around the world, including Japan, Germany and the U.S., said Ni Wen-lu, General Manager of AIFA Technology.

The infrared database on i-Ctrl contains transmission signals of various devices including air conditioner, projector, stereo, TV, lighting and fans. What happens is that once these infrared devices are linked to i-Ctrl, they will also get connected to a Wi-Fi network, allowing them to be controlled via a smartphone or smart speaker.

Ni pointed out that voice control is more common in Europe, where smart speakers are comparatively more widespread. Mobile app control is more common in Taiwan, where AIFA is based.

Nonetheless, voice control is more commonly applied for tasks like playing music and asking for information, instead of controlling home appliances. But this can be changed with the easy-to-use and more affordable i-Ctrl, Ni said.

In Japan, for example, Wi-Fi controllable ceiling lights are getting more and more popular, but they are more costly. i-Ctrl is a low-cost but powerful product, Ni said, adding that it will help facilitate smart home implementation.

The development of voice control

Global companies are all developing voice control, which signals the huge potential of this market, Ni said. “Voice control may be considered the prototype of a robot, which essentially emulate humans’ ability to talk.”

We need to learn vocabulary and phrases from a young age. It’s true with voice assistant too. One challenge is that there are different languages and accents, and companies need to teach their voice assistant accordingly, Ni said. “We received updates from Amazon every week telling us what new words or sentences Alexa has learned. The company will then modify i-Ctrl’s codes.”

The challenge is enabling voice assistants to understand voice commands made by everyone all the time, Ni added.

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