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Honor SA ups AI strategy as competition intensifies

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 22 Apr 2024
Honor will integrate AI into all its new business and consumer devices.
Honor will integrate AI into all its new business and consumer devices.

Honor South Africa is intensifying its artificial intelligence (AI) plans, as part of its broader vision to create an “intelligent” world for its local customers.

The Chinese smartphone maker says it is ramping up its research and development unit to offer an extended portfolio of AI-infused consumer, smart home and business-to business products to the local market, as part of the next phase of its internet of things (IOT) strategy.

The smartphone maker, which introduced its devices locally in 2021, previously told ITWeb it is gunning for the top three position in the local smartphone industry − targeting at least 10% of the market.

During a media conference in Johannesburg last week, the company revealed its AI-focused “all-scenario strategy” for the local market, to support the development of its portfolio of smartphones and additional devices to cater for the smart home and office.

“Honor offers a holistic approach to AI with our four-layer approach to the architecture of AI – which involves, firstly, AI-powered cross-operating system and cross-device integration,” said Fred Zhou, GM of Honor Technologies Africa.

“The second layer utilises AI to reconstruct a single-device operating system, while the third layer refers to the on-device application of AI. Fourth, is the hybrid AI, or the synergy between on-device and cloud-based AI – all implemented through a strong focus on R&D and our commitment to developing intelligent technologies that empower South Africans.”

According to Zhou, the integration of AI and IOT with emerging technologies is taking intelligent homes and businesses across the globe to new heights.

The highly-competitive smartphone market has seen phone companies increasingly developing intelligence-fused IOT devices and solutions beyond smartphones, designed for easy integration into their ecosystems.

Earlier this year, Honor launched MagicOS 8.0, its latest operating system, which it says uses AI to enhance connectivity for multi-device interactions.

Honor’s latest devices − the foldable Magic V2 and Magic6 Pro − have generative AI capabilities, which enable AI smartphone features across several functions, including image editing tools, communication, personalisation and internet browsing.

“Platform-level AI integrates various devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearables and smart screens into a unified system, allowing users to easily share and sync content across Honor devices,” noted Zhou.

“Our intelligent user interface, on the other hand, utilises AI to reconstruct a single-device operating system, enabling devices to better understand and cater to user needs over time.”

Honor is preparing to expand its portfolio of IOT products in SA, in a move that will see the phone manufacturer diversify its business-to-business and smart home offerings, added Zhou.

“We are seeing huge demand for our IOT products in SA, and in the second half of the year, we are looking at bringing an entire ecosystem of products beyond mobile offerings,” stated Zhou.

“In China, we already have a wide portfolio of products and we are planning which products to bring to SA, because we realise our customers want a smooth and convenient smart home and smart office experience. We are engaging operators and resellers on our distribution strategy.”