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Below is our recent interview with Alex Yang, COO at Tuya Smart:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Tuya Smart?
A: I’ll invite you to put yourself in the shoes of one of our customers. You’ve built an amazing smart product–a water sensor that can tell you if your pipes are leaking while you are away from home, or an air conditioner with a dehumidify setting.
The next step is to integrate your smart product with your customer’s smart home voice assistant. But this is harder than it sounds. You not only have to think about Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Homekit and Tmall, you have to consider networking modes, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Mesh, and ZigBee. Besides that, you’ll need to develop an app that works with customers’ smartphones. And you are going to need a cloud solution to store all the data that your smart device collects.
And here’s the catch…you’re not the only smart product on the market. Your ability to dominate means that you need to bring your product–with all of the smart automation– to market as quickly as possible. Besides that, you have to worry about data storage costs–perhaps in different clouds, depending on the country you are selling to. AND on top of that, you need to worry about security.
That is where Tuya Smart comes in. We have developed the modules that attach devices to the Internet, the app templates for the smartphone control and we have the access to the Amazon and Alibaba clouds. Our solution is really very turnkey.
We’ve been in business since 2014, and we work in 200 countries. Today the Tuya Smart cloud gets 20 billion device requests and more than 6 million daily AI interactions. Our solution has been adopted by some of the biggest manufacturers in our industry–Philips, Feit, Geeni and Energize. Our products are also sold to some of the biggest retailers, including Costco and Walmart. And our Tuya Smart app is integrated with thousands of products.
– At LIGHTFAIR in Chicago, Tuya Smart was awarded the Best Booth Award –
Q: What kinds of products do you offer to your customers?
A: There are thousands of products, but let me just describe a few.
Lighting is a major emphasis for us. Tuya Smart was recently honored at LIGHTFAIR 2018 for having the best booth, which is no small feat, considering that we were exhibiting with 500 of the world’s leading light manufacturers.
We can empower the bulbs so they are voice or app-controlled, and they can change color and brightness. Imagine for a second preparing to host company in a large home. With older technology, simply turning the lights on and off could completely distract the hosts for the majority of the evening. But with a series of voice commands, a hostess could ask for subdued lights in the living room, bright lights in the outside garden area, and red lights in the study, according to preference. And the lights can be set to turn off at a set time, thus improving energy efficiency.
Some of our other products include the Lancey battery-powered electric heater, which is smart enough to recharge itself during the off-peak hours of the grid, saving customers money. There’s also the Doorcam wire-free security camera, which mounts over a door and allows you to speak to anyone standing at the door, and even see in the dark! The Blink video doorbell has a similar function–allowing you to greet visitors at your front door, even if you are vacationing on the other side of the planet!
Besides this, Tuya Smart platform powers a range of smart plugs or power accessories that go between consumer devices and the wall outlet. These not only perform simply off and on scheduling, they can also tell you how much power you’ve used in a given time period to help you conserve energy. We all pay special attention to safety and durability, which is essential when dealing with any device that conducts electricity.
Q: How does AI fit in the IoT?
A: Artificial intelligence and the Internet of things are deeply integrated today, but let me explain the relationship with a practical example.
It’s impossible to talk about AI and IoT without talking about sensors–giving machines the ability to detect changes in external factors, such as noise, light, the presence of water, or a change in temperature.
If you think about something as simple as a thermometer in a tropical fish tank in your home–in the old days, you would have to look at the thermometer to know what the temperature in the tanks is. (The fish can’t tell you!)
The Internet of things as we know refers simply to the ability of everyday objects to send and receive data, so if you incorporate the Internet of things into the tank thermometer, you may be able to know while you are at work by simply consulting your phone what the temperature is in your fish tank.
We can take this a step further with AI, or artificial intelligence. When the tank is programmed to automatically heat or cool the tank water based on temperature measurements, then you have artificial intelligence fitting in to the IoT. You also have happy fish.
AI incorporated with IoT allows us to remotely control devices in preassigned ways, even reacting to environmental factors. The possibilities are limitless! At Tuya we enjoy working with creative manufacturers to empower smart products that consumers 50 years ago could only dream about. One product, for example, is a tea machine that adjusts its boiling point according to altitude. You may have to be a real tea connoisseur to appreciate that AI functionality, but we make it possible.
Q: Are there security concerns surrounding the IoT?
A: To put it bluntly, yes these are security concerns. It is essential when using a smart device to prevent interference–in particular malicious interference–from someone on the outside. You don’t want your customers spied on, data theft, etc.
You may be familiar with the International Security Organization? Tuya Smart is ISO 27001 certified, and that includes, (in their words), “documentation, management responsibility, internal audits, continual improvement, and corrective and preventive action.” We take security very seriously!
We work with the AWS cloud in the U.S. and the Alibaba cloud in China, and we don’t cross over. For enterprise clients, we make sure their data is completely isolated. We also provide financial-grade encryption services for different business scenarios. AES and HTTPS encryption are provided for data transmission, as well as WAN encryption and LAN encryption. We sign confidentiality agreements with clients.
You can understand our concern with reliable security when you note that the Tuya team held key roles in the development of the Alibaba Cloud, as well as Alipay, which allows hundreds of millions of registered users to make payments from all over the world.
Q: You’ve established relationships with leading smart speaker brands worldwide; could you tell us something more?
A: Because Tuya Smart is a globally-deployed smart cloud it was essential that we work with smart speaker brands all over the world. Tuya Smart is integrated with the most popular smart speakers including Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Homekit and more. In fact, Tuya has the fastest response time to an app or Echo’s voice commands of any cloud platform.
Tuya has several advantages–99.9 percent uptime indicates that our cloud services are extremely reliable, so no one will blame their smart-assistant for the fact that their smart device hasn’t responded to them, due to cloud downtime. We also perform all our upgrades without service interruptions.
We are very proud of our response time; because people expect their smart devices to obey them immediately, you can’t have a lag or a delay. For Europe and the U.S., our response time is 0.09 seconds.
Q: What does the future hold? Where is the company headed?
A: Tuya is very excited about the future. Tuya Smart will create a global intelligence platform to help global manufacturing companies develop intelligent upgrades. Through its platform features, Tuya provides customers with the technology, the channel and the product for smart devices, and also provides the funds and promotional support to coordinate with other cooperating companies. We look forward to sharing market resources and creating a globalized smart business ecosystem.