Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Xiaomi plans $7bn investment in 5G and AIoT

Steve Rogerson
January 8, 2020



Chinese technology giant Xiaomi plans to invest RMB50bn over the next five years in 5G, AI and IoT, according to CEO Lei Jun (pictured) in his New Year statement. The announcement came as Xiaomi found itself in a security row with Google when a user reported being able to see other people’s Xiaomi camera feeds through a Nest hub.
 
Lei Jun described 2019 as “a year of both prudence and drive” as the industry transitioned from 4G to 5G.
 
“We focused on healthy operations to drive our capabilities in building better quality products, innovation and delivering new products in the future,” he said. “We also made a series of strategic changes in branding, product portfolio and organisation structure which have laid a solid foundation for the company’s long-term development.”
 
The year saw significant global expansion for the company with overseas revenue now accounting for almost half of total group revenue.
 
“Xiaomi is now truly a global technology leader,” he said. “Our internet business also became more diversified and our AIoT business retained its global leadership. Xiaomi is now widely known as a true AIoT leader in the industry.”
 
In 2019, Xiaomi made the Fortune Global 500 list for the first time. And Lei Jun said 2020 would be a year of breakthroughs for its 5G business and a critical year to push forward its smartphone plus AIoT strategy.
 
“It is clear to us the strategic importance of 5G plus AI plus IoT and next generation super internet,” he said. “5G is not solely about a faster smartphone network. 5G plus AIoT represents Xiaomi’s ability to offer services across our comprehensive product line. It gives us the chance to offer unique and pioneering AIoT use cases.”
 
At the beginning of 2019, the company talked about going all in AIoT, and planned an investment of RMB10bn in this field over the next five years. After a year of verification, it is increasing its investment in this.
 
“We now believe we will invest at least RMB50bn over the five years in 5G plus AIoT to double down on our lead in the field,” he said. “This is to ensure we win in this new smart era.”
 
Meanwhile, Google has temporarily suspended integration between its Nest hub and cameras from Xiaomi after a user reported being able to see other people’s camera feeds. The two companies have been working together to resolve the issue.
 
The problem came to light at the start of the year when a Reddit user posted that their Nest hub was able to access other people’s Xiaomi camera feeds.
 
“We’ve been working with Xiaomi and we’re comfortable that the issue was limited to their camera technology platform,” said Rachel, community manager for Google home products, in a Reddit post. “While we worked on this issue with Xiaomi, we made the decision to disable all Xiaomi integrations on our devices. We understand this had a significant impact on users of Xiaomi devices but the security and privacy of our users is our priority and we felt this was the appropriate action.”
 
She said that Google was re-enabling Xiaomi device integrations for everything but camera streaming after necessary testing had been completed.
 
“We will not reinstate camera functionality for Xiaomi devices until we are confident that the issue has been fully resolved,” she said.
 
The problem was initially posted by Reddit user Dio-V, who said: “When I load the Xiaomi camera in my Google home hub I get stills from other people's homes.” The user also posted a video and various stills to illustrate the problem. One of them showed a sleeping child.
 
The camera was the Xiaomi Mijia 1080P IP camera using Xiaomi’s Mi Home app.
 
Xiaomi has apologised for the problem, which it says has now been fixed. It was caused by a cache update on December 26 designed to improve the camera’s streaming quality. A statement said the bug only happened in extremely rare conditions. Though the issue has been fixed, the service will not be resumed until it is certain the issue cannot happen again.