IoT at home getting cheaper

Local market value pegged to triple

Mr Chollawit says Bosch connected devices enable technical remote monitoring for machines.

Adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) via home appliances will be driven by more affordable prices and users' familiarity with IoT devices, say major home appliance makers.

The connected home appliance market is projected to reach 30 billion baht this year.

Smart connected appliances allow more premium options, differentiating them from competitive Chinese home appliance makers.

"In 2019, the growth of connected home appliances will triple in terms of local market value thanks to a greater variety of brands and prices, with all devices controlled by a single mobile app," said Nipon Wongsaengarunsri, marketing director of LG Electronics Thailand.

He said the local home appliance market, including TVs, is worth some 100 billion baht. In 2019, connected home appliances, including smart TVs, should account for 30% of the total market, growing by 25%.

The local connected home appliances market started in 2016 with smart TVs, and 70% of local TVs are connected.

LG is a pioneer in IoT home appliances, with over 40 smart TV models and 30 other appliances ranging from air conditioners to refrigerators, washing machines and air purifiers.

Mr Nipon said Thais' rapidly increasing adoption of smart connected devices was mostly for premium models, but since 2018 connectivity features have been expanded into mid-tier models that are accessible to more users.

Chollawit Na Songkhla, managing director of BSH Home Appliance Thailand, the local operating unit of the Germany-based home appliance maker, said Bosch introduced its brand here in March 2018, covering washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, vacuums, and food mixer preparations.

In October, BSH will launch a full range of smart connected home products in Thailand, starting with high-rise condominium projects and luxury homes.

Bosch is a leading brand in Europe that plans to market high-quality products to expats, then expand overseas.

According to research firm Euromonitor, in 2017 BSH's sales volume was No.1 in Europe, with €13.8-billion (505 billion baht) revenue.

"We waited until the application is ready to work with the full product line and has become much more intelligent. We do not want just remote control devices, but devices that will work more automatically," said Mr Chollawit.

Bosch connected devices also enable technical remote monitoring for machines. The launch of smart connected home appliances is part of Bosch brand's strategy in Southeast Asia.

"Smart home appliances will replace existing products within 4-5 years in Thailand and become the default feature," he said.

BSH has been operating in Thailand since 2001, focusing on the Siemens premium and Gaggenau luxury kitchen segments.

Since March 2018, the Bosch brand has seen greater acceptance at high-end condominium and luxury home projects. Bosch's sales are expected to grow 30% this year.

Chalermpong Darongsuwan, vice-president for consumer electronics business at Thai Samsung Electronics, said by the first quarter of 2019, the company will introduce complete smart connected home appliances.

Samsung plans to use digital assistant Bixby to provide users with more convenient modern features, using a single app to control all devices via smartphone.

Samsung is opening its platform to allow third-party connected devices such as lighting, locks and other features.

"Home connected appliances is still a premium market, expected to grow further after 5G adoption," said Mr Chalermpong.

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