Smart homes, healthcare to boost demand for AI-enabled products

Updated 2018-01-31 12:09:04 China Daily

Chinese consumers have high expectations for the application of artificial intelligence in smart homes, healthcare, automobile and transportation, security and fitness, even though the current utilization rate of such devices is relatively low, a new survey said on Tuesday.

About 64.7 percent of consumers in China own digital voice-enabled assistants, but less than 20 percent of them use these assistants frequently, global consultancy firm Accenture said in a study covering 4,060 consumers in 252 cities across the country.

More than 40 percent of Chinese consumers possess wearable devices and 30.8 percent use them every day, while 52.3 percent utilize them occasionally.

About 55 percent of consumers expect AI technologies to be applied in smart home systems, followed by healthcare, automobile, security and fitness.

"The reason lies in these intelligent hardware devices just providing a human-machine interaction interface. They don't bring about any subversive experiences or change consumers' behaviors," said Yu Jin, strategy lead for Accenture China.

Consumers across the globe revealed increasing demand and deeper interactions with standalone voice assistants. Chinese consumers who use voice assistants accounted for 55 percent and were ranked first in the world, nearly 10 percent higher than their US counterparts.

However, consumers face challenges when using intelligent devices, especially digital voice assistants. Voice recognition not working properly is the most common challenge for consumers, according to Accenture.

These assistants have yet to be developed, with insufficient application scenarios, which are lower than consumers' expectations, said Huang Weiqiang, managing director of Accenture China.

Huang said with the rapid development of big data and machine learning, AI will penetrate into fields that are related to people's daily lives, such as automobiles, con-sumer goods, retail, finance and healthcare.

Accenture also said nearly 40 percent of consumers have already bought intelligent home appliance products, and nearly 60 percent of them use them frequently, higher than the proportion of voice assistants.

Traditional home appliance manufacturers are pressing ahead with smart home products, such as air conditioners, televisions and refrigerators, by applying artificial intelligence technologies to transform and innovate products, as well as to grab a larger market share.

The consultancy said in a survey released last year that AI could accelerate China's economic growth rate from 6.3 percent to 7.9 percent by 2035, by transforming the nature of work and opening new sources of value and growth.

The report also said that AI has the potential to boost China's labor productivity by 27 percent by 2035-driven by innovative AI technologies that enable people to make more efficient use of their time. AI is poised to boost China's gross added value by .1 trillion by 2035.

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