Home companion robot embarrassment: AI is hot and capital is cold

AsiaIndustrial NetNews: You need a companion in your homeRobot?

According to statistics, in the past three years, the domestic family companion Robot segment has achieved explosive growth from scratch. By the end of 2016, there were more than 10 brands with a certain market reputation. Among these family-accompanied Robot startups, the highest financing scale reached 100 million US dollars in the A round, and the fastest financing progress reached the B+ round. More emerging startup projects stayed in the angel round and pre-A and even did not receive financing. It has been half a year since 2017, and the education of artificial intelligence in the consumer market is almost unprecedented. However, there has not been a new round of financing in the industry. Internal news learned that the former star companies are facing a new round of financing. The difficulty increases, the rhythm is delayed, etc.

If the attitude of capital can reflect the trend of the industry, family-accompanying Robot startups may have to go through the first wave of life and death tests.

Home companion robot embarrassment: AI is hot and capital is cold

Home robots get together in a companion scene

Through the inventory of mainstream family companion robots on the market, it is not difficult to find that in the vertical application scenario of the family, a small-scale competition pattern has formed three echelons.

The first batch of entrepreneurial stars who entered the early stage, such as Xiaoyujia, Setaria, ROOBO, King Kong Ant, and the second batch of giants entered the game. Qihoo 360 released a child companion robot, the new third board enterprise Babateng launched Xiaoteng robot, and a security giant Dahua has developed the Lecheng parenting robot and the Aileyou family parent-child robot under Tsinghua Unigroup. The third echelon is companies like Aipeng, Xiaomo, Lei Dabai and so on.

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Home companion robot embarrassment: AI is hot and capital is cold

With so many products entering the market, is there really enough market space for home companion robots? As the early pioneer of this category, Xiaoyujia CEO Song Chenfeng revealed in an interview after the joint release of “Clone Fish” with Baidu at the end of April this year: The sales of cloned fish in 2016 reached four times that of 2015, and it is expected to be sold in 2017. The amount is at least 2-3 times that of 2016, but the specific sales are always a secret. He also said that as a new category for the family, the home intelligent companion robot did not receive the enthusiastic response he imagined when it was introduced to the market in 2015. The huge lesson was that the category name was too advanced and jumpy. As for when the user hears the category name for the first time, there is no corresponding information in their minds, and what they get is zero information. Therefore, in the past year, Xiaoyu did not really do marketing at home, but focused on brand, product, and functional positioning, and at the same time concentrated on developing offline experience stores. Home intelligent robots are still at an early stage, and this category will mature within 5 years, reaching a market size of tens of millions.

However, as a rising star, ROOBO of Beijing Intelligent Butler Technology Co., Ltd. completed a $100 million Series A financing jointly invested by iFLYTEK and others in April 2016, becoming the highest financing in the industry at present. Its founder and CEO Liu Yingbo In an interview, Zeng claimed that its voice interactive pudding robot, priced at 999 yuan, has sold more than 100,000 units since its release in March 2016. It is reported that ROOBO’s new generation of pudding Doudou robots was also released in January 2017, becoming one of the strong competitors of Xiaoyu’s “Double Fish” at home, and the competition rhythm is pressing step by step.

In addition to the PK between new entrepreneurs, the layout of powerful listed companies and giants in traditional industries in the field of home companion robots should not be underestimated. The advantage of these large companies is that they are neither poor in money nor poor in technology. For example, 360 not only launched its own 360 children’s companion robot, but also invested in King Kong Ant to develop Xiaoyi robot; Shenzhen Xinyijia, behind the Babateng companion robot, has long been a listed company on the New Third Board; and Lecheng Parenting Robot and Aileyou Robot are both Artificial intelligence industry layout of traditional security equipment or IT hardware giants.

From this point of view, in the family companion robot industry, the product volume is not obvious, and the first-mover enterprises do not have many advantages. On the contrary, because there are more unknowns ahead, there are more pits to go, plus robots The industry needs a combination of soft and hard R&D, which is very expensive. The trial and error process has damaged too much R&D energy and insufficient capital. It is difficult for a single product line and business model to get a good market response for verification, which is difficult for investors to see. Expected returns are gradually losing confidence.


Product positioning under the wave of artificial intelligence

Originally, it was a good thing for more products to follow the education market together, but another dimension is that the industrial competition has escalated dramatically. When the application scenario of family companionship has not yet been opened, the popularity of the concept of artificial intelligence has brought home smart speakers and smart assistant products to the forefront. The Amazon echo smart speaker equipped with Alexa intelligent voice assistant has become a hot model in the United States, serving as a smart service center for many families. , occupying the entrance of smart home, sold 4 million units in 2015, 8 million units in 2016, and is expected to sell more than 10 million units in 2017. Such rapid popularity has made Google, Apple, and Microsoft unmatched in this competition. Many domestic entrepreneurs can not ignore this phenomenon-level product. But in contrast, domestic smart speaker products have been tepid survival. Many developers consider that the application scenarios of Chinese families and American families are different, and then follow the positioning of early pioneers of the category to accompany and accompany the children’s market for breakthroughs. Attempts to find application scenarios that consumers can widely accept and use with high viscosity, open up the market situation, and then fight for entry.

Home companion robot embarrassment: AI is hot and capital is cold

As a result, family companion robots are gradually gaining a firm foothold in developing the market simply by accompany positioning, and are likely to miss other opportunities that are widely accepted by consumers. Therefore, family companion robots must integrate more updated functions to keep their barriers from being surpassed. Many function iterations are not based on the rigid needs of users, nor their own core technologies and specialties, but simply cannot be left behind. Product positioning It is becoming more and more difficult to unify with the development direction, and even what product and user portrait are they are gradually unable to understand, and they have lost their way in the competition.

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The family companion robots on the market have gone through the first few manufacturers to cross the river, and the onlookers basically want to imitate and imitate them. The difference between the products is only the difference in UI interface, some insignificant functional differences, and different product names. , There is essentially no overall subversive experience and functional performance. The core selling point of the product mainly integrates the following technical capabilities:

1. Intelligent voice interaction, robot and human dialogue, chat, query services;

2. Face recognition and image recognition technology to meet the needs of machine-to-person locking and recognition, capture records, etc.;

3. Mobile phone remote control, video call function, to meet the needs of communication and companionship;

4. Integration of content resources, entertainment audio and video resources or children’s educational content resources;

5. Local services and networking services, such as reminders and online shopping;

6. Connection and control of smart home.

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Published on 09/01/2022