Source: CHEAA-run China Appliance Magazine

A Software development kit (SDK) and a Cloud-to-Cloud Interconnection (CIC) label, the latest progress of CHEAA’s CIC project for smart home appliances, are jointly released by CHEAA and more than 10 enterprises including Haier, Midea, BSH, Changhong, Hisense, TCL, Skyworth, Konka and Xlink at AWE 2018 on March 9th, 2018.

Jiang Feng, President of CHEAA, points out that, “The release of the CIC SDK is a crucial step forward towards cross-brand interconnection of smart appliances.”

Addressing pain points of smart appliances

Smart appliances are not new to consumers, yet they still have a hard time winning consumers’ hearts. Currently, smart appliances of different brands run separately on individual platforms, resulting in a not-so-pleasant consumer experience. Targeting this issue, the CIC SDK provides an effective solution to cross-brand interconnection.

Dr. Shao Huairong, CTO of TCL Home Appliances and General Manager of TCL Smart Home, tells our reporter that, established in 2015, CHEAA-initiated CIC Work Group is made up of renowned home appliance makers as well as technical service companies including Haier, Midea, BSH, Changhong, Hisense, TCL, Skyworth, Konka, Xlink, Galanz, Samsung, Xingxing, Aux and Aucma. In the past 3 years, a number of significant results have been achieved, including the establishment of the CIC solution, the onsite demonstration at AWE 2017, the release of CHEAA standard Cloud to Cloud Interconnection for Smart Household Appliances, and now, the release of the CIC label and SDK.

The development of the CIC SDK kicked off in Aug, 2017, with Xlink as the head of the SDK work group. According to Lei Qiaoping, CEO of Xlink, this SDK is an essential technical solution to the delivery of the CIC project. With the SDK, the CIC standard protocol can be accurately and efficiently deployed on individual platforms. To date, the SDK is open-sourced only among the work group, allowing the group members to work together to adjust and maintain the SDK and fix bugs. It is expected to expand access to the whole society in the future as the CIC standard and its SDK expands applications.

Zhao Feng, Vice President and CTO of Haier Group, shares his view on this CHEAA-initiated project. He says, based on well communications of leading home appliance makers and a thorough study of consumers’ needs, this project was launched with unanimity of all work group members. Reflecting industry needs, it fixes the pain points of the industry and industry players through a lightweight approach, which endows the CIC project great vitality.

Alongside the SDK, the CIC label is also released to the public on the same day. It will be used to identify products that are compatible with CIC standard.

Future smart life demonstration on site

At Exhibition Hall W2 of Shanghai New International Expo Center, onsite demonstrations of CIC SDK-based smart life scenarios are receiving hands-on inspections of visitors. Set up at the specially-designed CIC zone, this demonstration presents the interconnection of smart appliances under two life scenarios-living room and kitchen.

According to Wan Chunhui, Vice Secretary General of CHEAA, the connected appliances and smart hardware of 10 different companies come from 16 categories, spanning TV, refrigerator, washing machine, air conditioner, water heater, dish washer, hood, range, oven, coffee maker, air purifier, robot vacuum cleaner, smart robot, smart speaker, smart lamp and smart sensor.

This demonstration is realized thanks to the open minds of the member companies. With the best interests of consumers at hearts, they join hands to establish a future smart life. “We’re glad to see that, under the leadership of CHEAA, industry heavy weights work together on the CIC standard. This SDK-based demonstration proves that it is technically feasible for smart appliances of different categories, made by different manufacturers to get interconnected through the CIC project.” Dr. Xu Chengmao, Vice President of Midea's Corporate Research Center, says, “We believe that, the CIC SDK will win more and more recognition, and will be broadly applied, which could speed up the interconnection of the currently isolated appliances and promote the resource sharing among enterprises and platforms.”

BSH is one of the oldest members of the CIC Work Group. Kong Fan, Vice President of Digital Transition of BSH Home Appliances China, reveals that, BSH has been committed in the CIC project since the very beginning, playing an active role in the establishment and delivery of the CIC standard and the exploration of the CIC application scenarios. In the future, BSH will continue to establish a safe, open and interconnected Home Connect system based on users’ needs, offer elevated user experience, and bring more localized services to consumers.

At AWE 2018, the CIC project is leading smart home appliances into a new era. Jiang Feng, President of CHEAA, says at the press conference, “Today, we bring a more mature CIC solution to the industry and consumers, and showcase onsite what we have achieved in the past three years. Through the demonstration, we’d like to pass the determination of China’s home appliance industry in addressing smart appliance interconnection issue and its confidence in taking the lead in global smart appliance industry to the world.”