With Indian stating itself being the next Smart City hub, real-estate and urban planning market seem booming. To make smart and intelligent homes of tomorrow a reality, technology aptness is the core for overall development. In an exclusive interview, Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India unravels to Niloy Banerjee, BISinfotech about the company’s adroitness in Smart Homes segment. He also shares his insights on the overall market scenario and how MediaTek’s solutions are harnessing a variety of innovative technologies to bring forth solutions that empower the Smart Home segment. Edited Nub Below.
- What are the major offerings and product portfolio of MediaTek in the emerging Smart Homes segment?
A global fabless semiconductor company that enables 1.5 billion connected devices a year, MediaTek is a market leader in developing innovative systems-on-chip (SoC) for mobile devices, smart homes and home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products. Our dedication to innovation has positioned us as a driving market force in several key technology areas, including highly power-efficient mobile technologies, automotive solutions and a broad range of advanced multimedia products such as smartphones, tablets, digital televisions, 5G, Voice Assistant Devices (VAD) and wearables. We power 20%, or 1 in 5, of the world’s devices.
At MediaTek, the smart homes segment is one of our core verticals. Our forte lies in building the smart and intelligent homes of tomorrow. Our major offerings in this space include chips that power digital smart TVs, innovative 8K TVs, voice assistant devices, fitness systems like Tonal intelligent home gym, Blu-ray and DVDs, set-top boxes, Wi-Fi routers and optical drives to smarten up homes. We also provide chip solutions revolving around smart plugs and smart lighting. MediaTek is working on making all these products even smarter with enhanced rich IoT and powerful Edge AI features.
Further, MediaTek powered smartphones play a crucial role in enabling smartness at homes. For instance, smartphones can use applications like Amazon Alexa and Mira vision to control all the smart products at home.
- Can you elaborate on MediaTek and Amazon partnership to create a unified smart home vision?
Our association with Amazon is across different segments catering to smart home requirements. Two instances of recent products we have partnered on include the Amazon Fire Stick, a full-feature streaming device that can be plugged into the HDMI port of a television to turn it into a smart TV, and the Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker. We are also collaborating on more Amazon devices and will be announcing these products soon.
- Compared to the world, how do you see Smart Home market booming in India? What are the challenges and scope that this indigenous market brings in?
Considering the smart home segment in India, domestic adoption of the technology is slightly slower than other countries, but it is picking up. According to a recent report, the speech and voice recognition technology market in India is pegged at 149.95 crore INR as of December 2019. The market is seen growing to 210.63 crore INR by the end of this year.
With the current situation ensuring that people are required to stay at home, smart home technology is expected to receive a fillip. Individuals are more likely to invest in solutions that will make their homes more efficient and comfortable. There is tremendous scope for products like smart speakers, smart plugs and lighting, smart TVs, connectivity solutions, etc. A challenge hindering mass consumption in India is the cost of some of the smart home products. People here are more cost conscious but, with newer technology creating more cost-efficient devices, consumption is seen increasing in India.
- When we talk about a complete offering for Smart Homes like automating and ‘IoTfying’ a complete house, it can significantly start from small offerings like Smart Bulbs or say Smart TVs. In this scenario, where is MediaTek’s pivotal focus and what are your strategies to encompass this Billion-Dollar market?
As we mentioned earlier, smart homes is a core vertical for us and we harness a variety of innovative technologies to bring forth solutions that empower the segment. In the smart home domain, we focus on pivotal technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and 8K resolution. We also provide chip solutions for smart plugs and smart bulbs which are small offerings that go a long way in making a home smarter. Our strategy is to create a strong platform of efficient and premium chips that can power a variety of smart home appliances and we foresee many new products, featuring MediaTek chips, being launched in 2020.
- What are MediaTek’s flagship offerings for (Specs, feature) Smart Homes?
MediaTek has a comprehensive platform of chips that power different smart home products. For instance, our flagship chips are embedded in the Amazon Echo Dot, an Alexa-enabled smart speaker. Our chip is also used in the recently launched Amazon Fire Stick 4k. In the Smart TV segment, the recently launched Motorola Ultra HD (4K) LED Smart Android TV, the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 Pro and Samsung’s 8K QLED Y20 model use MediaTek chipsets. In fact, Samsung collaborated with MediaTek to launch the world’s first 8K QLED TV equipped with a custom Wi-Fi 6 chipset – the MediaTek Q95 and Q900. The TV, supporting Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, provides consumers a seamless experience with smooth streaming, gaming and unconstrained access to the internet.
- Importance of Security for MediaTek in this growing connected environment?
Security is an important issue when it comes to smart homes and the increasingly connected environment we live in. Security is a software driven function and MediaTek is extremely invested in ensuring the security of consumer data. For instance, our AIoT chipsets have Arm’s TrustZone security built-in to enable manufacturers to create secure IoT devices. These chips include long term support for operating system updates and security patches. Further, MediaTek has also developed a microcontroller unit chip, in association with Microsoft, to enhance the Azure Sphere security solution.
- Smart Home market is evidently becoming competitive. What is MediaTek’s know-how to be a leader in this domain?
MediaTek has always been focused on enabling newer technologies in the smart homes space and we have endeavoured to create intelligent homes of the future. Our consistent efforts have made us the number one chipmaker for VADs, digital TVs, home networking and other segments. We believe in technology democratisation and offer consumers premium services at competitive prices. Our chips are designed keeping humans in mind and we work towards enhancing and enriching consumers’ lives through technology. It is this ethos that differentiates us from our competitors.
- Lastly, how are Technology partners and Design Service partners getting alongside MediaTek’s Rich IoT ecosystem?
MediaTek leverages a number of innovative technologies and solutions to design products that enable and democratise the market. Our offerings power several vibrant and intelligent technologies across verticals like home, enterprise, IT, consumer electronics, healthcare, retail, and communications. MediaTek’s rich IoT program consists of three AIoT chipset platforms – i300B for voice recognition devices, i300A for multimedia displays and i500 for AI vision devices and these have been adopted by different technology and design service partners. Our comprehensive AIoT program is spurring innovation with chips that are leveraged by enterprises, startups, emerging brands and leading OEMs, in diverse markets. The platform has enabled our technology partners to address new market opportunities by designing a wide range of IoT devices with Edge-AI capabilities and new user experiences. MediaTek’s program also allows our partners to deep-differentiate in software and provides them faster access to the market.