Why China’s No. 2 e-commerce site JD sees smart refrigerators as a key to IoTs boom

Eyeing the Internet of Things (IoTs) future, China’s second largest online retailer JD.com is joining China’s tech giants to launch a smart refrigerator.

JD.com’s founder Liu Qiangdong on Tuesday made a post on a Chinese social media platform announcing that the e-commerce platform will start selling its own smart refrigerators.

“After three years of research and development, the JD.com refrigerator will go on sale. It will be more than just a giant box of food. Instead, it will be a service center for healthy diets and will also provide sales of fruits and vegetables,” wrote Liu.

With the installation of cameras and image recognition technology, the user will know what is exactly inside and when the food will expire. A user can check all information via an app, and buy more food if the refrigerator is nearly empty at JD.com.

The smart machine can also learn your habits, according to Liu, and recommends that food can be purchased on the e-commerce website.

JD.com’s smart refrigerator. Photo from Baidu Images

The IoTs market in China is expected to reach RMB 1.83 trillion (USD 265 billion) by 2020, as reported by Chinese news portal Sohu.

Among corporate companies, software companies will most likely to take the lead in the IoTs market according to IDC. The chance for software companies is 19.6 percent more than data analytics companies, which is placed second on this rank.

To embrace the IoTs boom, JD.com becomes the latest internet and software giant that places bets on the kitchen to welcome the Internet of Things era.

  • Alibaba and household appliance manufacturer Midea last September jointly launched a smart refrigerator equipped with Alibaba’s Yun Operating System. The refrigerator’s features are quite similar to rival JD.com’s new refrigerator.
  • Although Tencent has two super messaging apps WeChat and QQ, the company is probably the most unsuitable tech giant to make a refrigerator as social media seems fairly remote from the kitchen. Still, the company in January released a refrigerator with its home appliance partner Midea, which enables users to remotely control their refrigerator via the app QQ. On top of that, this refrigerator provides a string of seemingly unnecessary services such as video, music, and radio.
  • Baidu in March announced its version of a smart refrigerator with two home appliance partners Haier and Midea. The appliance is powered by Baidu’s AI assistant platform DuerOS which was developed by the search engine giant. So far, DuerOS has more than 70 capabilities including voice activation, app control, and calendar management, and it can run on devices like home appliances, wearables, and smartphones.

(Top photo from Pixabay.com)

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