With the implementation of the “double reduction” policy, many online education enterprises with performance pressures have turned their attention to educational intelligent hardware. For a moment, the popularity of educational hardware swept the entire online education industry. With the rise of the educational hardware boom, the competition in the educational intelligent hardware industry is becoming increasingly fierce.
On the one hand, old educational hardware companies are under pressure to accelerate the pace of IPO (such as Shulang’s listing in Hong Kong); On the other hand, the competition among new players around hardware is becoming white-hot, and players from all walks of life are constantly upgrading around hardware. It is not difficult to predict the various realities reflected by the entire intelligent hardware industry, and the era of educational hardware competition is coming.
The era of intelligent education hardware competition
Front of hardware hot air head
Among the new generation of intelligent hardware, the first popular intelligent education hardware is NetEase’s intelligent dictionary pen and iFLYTEK’s intelligent learning machine. With the success of Netease Youdao and iFLYTEK’s educational hardware products, two listed companies, Netease Youdao and iFLYTEK, have also achieved rapid development beyond their main businesses.
According to the 2020 financial report released by iFLYTEK, iFLYTEK hardware products contributed 49% of gross profit in 2020, helping iFLYTEK’s intelligent education sector revenue increase by 70.68% year-on-year; In addition to iFLYTEK, NetEase Youdao has also tasted the benefits of intelligent education hardware. According to data, in 2020, NetEase Youdao learning products (hardware products) increased by 255.1% year-on-year, with a gross profit margin of 39.5%. The combination of high growth rate and high gross profit has enabled iFLYTEK and NetEase to maintain good profitability and cash flow levels while maintaining rapid development.
With the successful experience of NetEase Youdao and iFLYTEK taking the lead, online education enterprises that are desperate under the pressure of “double dip” have started to implement hardware projects. From the current industry situation, there are other considerations behind online intelligent hardware for online education enterprises.
First, it is the continuous benefits brought by various policies. According to the public data, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Education have released the Action Plan for the Innovation and Development of Intelligent Hardware Industry and the Action Plan for Education Informatization 2.0. The introduction of these two documents has further pointed out the direction for the development of intelligent education hardware industry. In February this year, the Ministry of Education issued the Notice on Strengthening the Management of Mobile Phones for Primary and Secondary School Students, which further clarified the management of mobile phones and other hardware. After mobile phones were controlled, the demand for electronic dictionaries as learning aids increased significantly.
Secondly, it is the imagination space that intelligent hardware itself brings to the education industry. As an important branch of smart devices, the integration of software and hardware technologies in smart education has provided them with the same “software and hardware integration” function as smart phones. Hardware manufacturers reach users through hardware, and then build an ecological closed-loop through content services, undoubtedly increasing the attractiveness of the intelligent hardware industry itself.
Both policy incentives and the industry imagination brought by the hardware itself are driving intelligent education hardware into a new stage of development.
New opportunities under the wave of new technology
From the perspective of the realistic technological environment faced by the hardware industry, with the birth of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, speech recognition, cloud computing, and 5G, the realistic conditions for hardware equipment to achieve software and hardware integration are gradually maturing
First of all, the large-scale deployment of 5G business has rapidly improved the experience of hardware equipment in data transmission and human-computer interaction. According to the data of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, by the end of 2020, China has opened 718000 5G base stations, and the three major operators have 322 million 5G package users. With the further implementation of 5G in the C-end commercial scenario, it has greatly promoted the improvement of computing power of various intelligent products. Whether it is data transmission or human-computer interaction, the use experience and user scenarios of this generation of hardware products are much richer than before.
In addition, the application of technologies including voice recognition has enriched the intelligent experience of educational hardware and promoted the transformation of educational hardware from electronic to intelligent.
Secondly, with the continuous enrichment of hardware product categories and the continuous improvement of experience, the scale of intelligent hardware market has been greatly improved. With the continuous expansion of intelligent education hardware scenarios, intelligent hardware for various scenarios has begun to emerge in an endless stream. At present, the more typical applications are mainly in the following four categories: intelligent pen for education, intelligent work light, electronic paper for education and intelligent speaker with screen.
Among them, educational smart pens mainly serve the language learning of primary and secondary school students, and their representatives are reading pens, translation pens, dictionary pens, etc; Intelligent homework lights are mainly used as companionship tools for learning. In addition to providing lighting for students, they also provide homework guidance and help students with homework management, etc., while educational electronic paper and intelligent speakers with screens are used for detailed needs such as writing, reading and communication. According to the latest hardware industry report jointly released by iResearch and Tencent Research Institute, it is expected that the scale of the smart hardware market will reach 100 billion yuan in the next three years.
With the popularity of intelligent education hardware, publishers in the upstream and manufacturers holding other content resources, downstream technology manufacturers and hardware manufacturers have begun to cooperate more and more. This cross-domain cooperation has made hardware obtain all-round improvement in content, technology experience, hardware quality and other aspects. All of these have accelerated the development of intelligent education hardware. https://www.stoneitech.com/
The big competition era of intelligent hardware is coming
Currently, players of intelligent hardware can be divided into three categories: the first category is represented by traditional educational hardware enterprises, as well as hardware manufacturers that cut into educational hardware scenarios, such as Shulang and Bubugao, and the latter such as HP; The second category is the Internet giants involved in the education track, such as Tencent and ByteDance; The third category is online education and educational hardware “soft and hard” enterprises. Representative enterprises include NetEase Youdao, Homework Help, Ape Tutoring, etc.
The first type of player, whose underlying logic is “selling hardware”, takes the function-driven as the main starting point to perform function iteration and performance optimization on educational hardware. Such companies have a relatively complete supply chain system, quality control is more advantageous, and sales system is more mature, but the disadvantages are also obvious. They can only