Xiaomi Will Bring AI to Dubai Smart Homes in First International Partnership
Xiaomi is expanding its smart home technology outside of China for the first time in a partnership with Dubai-based Emaar Properties. The Emaar Smart Home will integrate Xiaomi’s AI into new homes built this year, including a range of smart home devices.
Xiaomi in UAE
Xiaomi is a popular brand in China and its XiaoAI voice assistant operates on devices manufactured both in-house and by third parties. All of its partnerships have been with Chinese companies until now. Emaar, a major real estate developer within the United Arab Emirates, wants to leverage Xiaomi’s Mi Home platform as the central platform for its new smart homes. Emaar just opened this month a 44-story residential tower called the Burj Crown in central Dubai with 440 apartments. The residents of the new smart homes will use the Mi Home app to run smart speakers and displays as well as lights, cleaning appliances, and other controls in the home.
“One of Xiaomi’s core strategies focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT),” Xiaomi senior vice president Chew Shou Zi said in a statement.“With Emaar as our partner, we are confident that we will showcase just how advanced the latest Xiaomi smart home products are. We believe this partnership brings together two of the world’s foremost industry leaders with shared digital ambition, customer-centricity, and focus on high product quality. We are excited to be launching our range of smart home products in the region with Emaar.”
Emaar said it plans to extend its partnership with Xiaomi once the initial smart homes are set up. The company wants to bring Xiaomi’s AI to homes its builds all over the Middle East and North Africa. Xiaomi has been talking about expanding abroad for nearly two years, since it put together a 500-person AI research team to upgrade its AI. At the time, it was looking to the U.S. as a market, but Emaar gives the company a significant entry point into the Middle East and North Africa.
New Xiaomi Devices for New Markets
Xiaomi has rolled out plenty of devices and features for Emaar’s smart homes, such as the XiaoAI Touchscreen Pro 8 that the company debuted in December. The smart display is only available in China at the moment, but it would make sense for it, or a variation of it, to be used in the smart homes in Dubai as well. Similar to the Google Nest Hub or Amazon Echo Show, the smart display is designed to manage smart devices across the home.
Apartment hunters may be wary of the integration, however. Privacy is always a concern for smart device buyers, and Xiaomi recently had to deal with a privacy problem in its own system. Google had to block Xiaomi from its Google Nest platform for a little while after Xiaomi security camera users discovered they were being shown images from other people’s cameras. The issue was Xiaomi cameras managed by Google Assistant and was serious enough for Google to disable Xiaomi’s access to the Google Assistant cloud. Anyone moving into an Emaar Smart Home will want to ensure that kind of problem won’t crop up before they unpack.