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Innovations in Home Media Terminals for the Upcoming 5G Era

2019 is the first year for commercial 5G networks. By August, 5G services have already been officially launched in US, South Korea, Switzerland and several other countries. 5G networks, featuring high bandwidth, ultra-reliable low latency and massive concurrent connectivity, have immediately attracted a large number of early adopters. For example, 5G users in South Korea have exceeded one million within only two months, with a penetration rate faster than that of 4G. In addition, the development of 5G-empowered services, including industrial control, drone, Internet of vehicles, and AR/VR, brings revolution in business models for various vertical industries and inspires our imagination.

ZTE believes, in the 5G era, services like Big Video will increase network traffic and then become an important driver for 5G user uptake. More than 90% of network traffic is expected to come from video-related services. The growing maturity of 5G will accelerate the popularity of ultra-high-resolution 8K video, AR/VR and smart-home services, as well as the evolution of home media terminals. The traditional video service, with a lack of diversity in content and human-machine interaction, leaves users with limited choice in content selection. However, the development of AI, intelligent voice, OTT and 5G creates more opportunities for the Big Video service. To advance the service development for operators, we need to think deeply about how to provide users with more choices, and the obvious solution is product innovation.

In the upcoming 5G era, ZTE believes home media terminals must have three features: interaction, ecosystem, and portal.

Brand-new interactive mode
The traditional interactive mode of remote control, which has dominated home appliances for a long time, has some intrinsic defects such as complicated operations and low efficiency. Interfaces created for the remote control need to adapt to the key-pressing logic, making it difficult to fundamentally improve the user experience.

The far-field voice interaction technology offers a hands-free experience by adopting a natural and smooth human-machine interactive mode. The built-in microphone array can capture each voice command clearly, transform and understand its meaning immediately, respond to it in real time, and finally achieve natural and smooth search and content retrieval. The intelligent perception technology of the AI engine enables the equipment to understand users’ true intentions and present the accurate information and content searched from massive content and services, greatly improving the user experience and providing users with more choices.

Complete ecosystem
Besides evolution of interactive modes, the improvement of user experience also needs support of the rich ecosystem so that users of all ages in a family can obtain the desired information and resources through home media terminals. For example, terminal products should be integrated with well-known and all-round contents provided by worldwide mainstream content vendors in order to broaden and deepen the video service, with the aim to create a complete ecosystem environment for operators and offer good support for TV and value-added services.

Portal to smart home
In recent years, with the popularity of optical broadband, the set-top box, as a home media terminal, has accelerated its evolution with increasingly enhanced processing capabilities. Backed up by AI technology and by means of voice, the most natural human-machine interactive mode, the smart speaker product becomes a portal to the smart home for mobile Internet enterprises.

ZTE’s far-field 4K AI STB integrates the smart speaker and set-top box with cutting-edge technologies such as far-field voice, smart home, and 4K UHD decoding, providing users with the most convenient man-machine interactive mode and the most powerful access and service extension capabilities. By means of extension, it is able to control the smart home devices through IoT protocols including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Zwave, and bring convenience to life.

ZTE, working with operators and industrial partners, are committed to developing more smart home applications to improve the evolution of home media terminals towards smart home hubs, with the aim to create a multi-ecological platform for smart home and video value-added services, bring true convenience to end-users, and seize the opportunities in the upcoming 5G era.

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