MivaTek: Multi-purpose app, high affordability and easy setup are key to driving smart home adoption

MivaTek: Multi-purpose app, high affordability and easy setup are key to driving smart home adoption
After 6 years of development for the global smart home market, MivaTek is now poised for take-off with a focus on both the consumer and the B2B markets. The company acquired Oplink Connected in 2015. Built upon the expertise of Oplink Connected in developing for optical switches and the IoT, MivaTek is a company with all-round capabilities in hardware, software and firmware development and system integration. According to Joe Liu, CEO of MivaTek, this allows MivaTek to stand out because the company can provide truly end-to-end solutions and one-stop-shop for its business partners, such as a major Japanese household brand.

“What makes us unique is our video-integrated and multifaceted IoT system architecture that enables connection of everything, from anywhere to anyone, with a single app, mobile cloud, switching-hubs, and dozens of video-integrated devices,” says Liu.

Other than B2B services, which make up a smaller proportion of MivaTek’s revenue at the moment, the company has a consumer-focused brand called “Home8″. Home8 has two product lines – Smart Home for home security and environment monitoring; and Smart Care for in-home emergency, medication tracking and activity tracking. Sales channels for Home8 will include distributors as well as retailers like Fry’s, Walmart and Amazon.
The core message Home8 delivers is single app control, high affordability, and simple to install and setup – three factors considered critical to driving smart home/IoT adoption by Liu.

“With more sensors in the home and more things becoming smart, the challenge is to come up with an app that can be used for multiple purposes. For Home8, we provide a single app for 8 different purposes” says Liu. “Besides, the solution has to be affordable. Our lowest priced kit starts at under US$200, and we offer free self-monitoring services. The solution also has to be easy to install and setup, particularly for markets like the U.S. where costs of professional installation are high.”

A major highlight of Home8 is that it requires zero pairing, making setup a breeze for its users. For consumers who dare to install smart home devices and solutions on their own, the market is no short on supplies of various DIY products featuring simple setup. However, in many cases the user has to manually pair the devices, making system setup more difficult than was promised. Eliminating pairing from the device setup process would certainly be a plus for the company and the users alike.

Liu expresses an optimistic outlook on the 2016 market. “We feel 2016 will be better than 2015 for Home8. The price point has dropped to an affordable level, and we are seeing a much greater consumer adaption rate of the smart home devices in US, EU, and PRC, not just the early adaptors.”

When asked about his view on which protocol(s) will survive, Liu thinks what it really comes down to is the tradeoff between cost and performance. The company believes that when the price of Wi-Fi low power chips drop to $3 or less, and the price of 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips drop to around $1, Wi-Fi will become the dominant protocol because it can be used for almost all applications. As for Bluetooth LE, it may be able to survive because it can be used in medical applications for example. However, the company is not as optimistic about protocols like Z-Wave and ZigBee because it considers these standards to be still confusing to the end customers, and also the pairing of Z-Wave or ZigBee based devices is not always that easy and simple.

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