Smart Home Appliances Take Shanghai's AWE 2024 by Storm


(Yicai) March 15 -- Artificial intelligence is becoming mainstream in China-made home appliances, as the Appliance & Electronics World Expo shows.

AI is popping up everywhere in the 13 exhibition halls of the annual AWE, one of the world's largest expos for home appliances and consumer electronics which kicked off yesterday, as manufacturers of home appliances find new ways to upgrade their products.

Haier brought HomeGPT, the first large language model for smart homes, to the expo. Compared with simple AI applications seen in previous products, Haier's new technologies can have conversations with users that seem almost natural and take orders. For example, a user of Haier’s smart steam oven just can say "I want to make 250 grams of steamed fish," and the oven will generate an optimized plan and execute it.

Cookware manufacturer Supor has taken cooking books to the next level, bringing its digital human that shares knowledge of nutritious meals for children to the expo. "Our digital human is trained with the help of Baidu’s chatbot Ernie Bot,” Zhang Yuanyuan, head of Supor’s maternal and childcare business, told Yicai.

South Korean tech giant Samsung displays a phone with an AI assistant that can translate conversations between two people speaking in different languages in real-time, Yicai learned.

In television sets, AI enhances the quality of image and sound, helps users to find TV programs that they like, and even allows them to step into TV series as an avatar, Sun Li, chief technology officer of TCL Industries Holdings, said to Yicai.

In comparison, the application of AI technology in air conditioners and refrigerators is still relatively narrow as it mainly targets energy saving and human-machine interaction. For example, Aux Home Appliances displays an intelligent air con unit that can recognize multiple dialects of Mandarin Chinese. 

The future will be more intuitive. The application of AI technologies in home appliances is still in the exploration stage, Jia Dongsheng, head of Fanborui Consulting, told Yicai. 

Currently, AI is mainly used for intelligent sensing and voice response but the potential for predictive features is still untapped. Although the technology for making such devices is already mature, it remains to be seen how brands manage to unify the internet connection standards used by different devices, Jia said, adding that the cost of such advanced features is still too high.