Imagine waking up to drawn curtains letting in the warm morning sun, relaxing music playing on the stereo, and the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee waiting for you in the kitchen—all without having to lift a finger. What used to seem like a far-fetched Hollywood movie scene is now our reality. After years of development, traditional home appliance companies and internet tech giants see it as a threat. This, of course, has led to intense competition. According to data from Strategy Analytics, last year’s smart home market reached $84 billion and is expected to continue to grow to $96 billion this year. The predicted trend spans the next five years with rapid growth to $155 billion by 2023. As a result, smart living is generally considered to be the market with the most potential in the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) sector.
With explosive growth in the industry came many smart life startups entering the market. However, big corporations like Google, Amazon, and Xiaomi have long dominated the industry, making it difficult for young companies to survive. As world-class internet giants, Google and Apple have been going head-to-head in the battle for the smart home market. In 2014, Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion, announcing its entry into the Internet of Things (IoT). In the same year, Apple launched a HomeKit Smart Home platform to connect smart devices in users’ homes, with devices such as the iPhone and iPad that can be used to control such smart home products. Since then, Google and Apple have launched Google Home and HomePod, respectively, in efforts to build control portals for smart home devices.
How can startups succeed in competition with these big players? At TechCrunch Hangzhou, we will be having our first ever Smart Life zone at Startup Alley, dedicated to empowering startups in this sector and discovering their potential to become the next unicorns.