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The Tuya Smart IoT Platform:The behind-the-scenes smart home giant keeps getting bigger

The Tuya Smart IoT Platform is embedded network modules that other manufacturers use to create products such as lamps, switches, cameras.
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More and more products work through the Tuya platform, but what exactly is Tuya? And did you know that you can also make a smarthome series yourself? In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the Tuya platform.

The name Tuya probably does not immediately ring a bell. Still, with the Tuya Smart IoT Platform, the American-Chinese company has a very big finger in the pie when it comes to smart home solutions. Well-known smart home products from LSC Smart Connect (Action) , Woox , Marmitek , Archos, TCL, Energizer and many other manufacturers work through Tuya. What exactly is the Tuya platform? In this article, we dive into this major player in the IoT market.

The Tuya Smart IoT Platform: Large smarthome 

Tuya is an American-Chinese company founded by former Alibaba employees. You know Alibaba from Aliexpress and the Alibaba Cloud. The group of former employees therefore had sufficient experience with such a large platform and the step was taken to start their own company. Tuya has only been around for a few years, but now has offices in the United States, Germany, India, Japan and China. The Tuya Smart IoT Platform enables manufacturers to develop a smart home solution in just a few steps and currently has 180,000 customers in 190 different countries. According to the company, there are currently 90,000 Tuya-enabled products in more than 500 different product categories. With this, Tuya is well on its way to becoming one of the largest smart home platforms in the world.

The Tuya Smart IoT Platform

Tuya itself does not make smart home products, but provides the underlying technology and cloud traffic via the 4A IoT Platform. It provides hardware access to network modules, the underlying cloud and software to develop your own app. However,  The Tuya Smart IoT Platform is much more than that. In fact, anyone can start their own smarthome line via Tuya. The company works together with 3000 manufacturers (mostly Chinese companies) with whom you can go directly to sea via the underlying platform to set up your own series of products.

The Tuya Smart IoT Platform: Set up your own smart home line yourself

Setting up your own smarthome line is actually quite easy via Tuya and it takes four different steps after you have created an account via the website of Tuya (click on Platform login in the top right and then on signup). Are you curious about how it works? Then just sign up to go through the first steps. Registration is free and apart from your email address, you will not share any other personal information during this initial process.

Step 1 is developing the product. You will see a huge database with different products, ranging from smart switches and smart lighting to kitchen appliances such as coffee machines, ovens and kettles. You can also select scales, blood pressure monitors and complete smart treadmills for your own gym. Then you select the smart functions that this device should have. In step two you dive into the production process, you indicate how much you want to produce and you go further into the contract. Step three is the app.

You do not have to create your own app with the app. You can choose to use the more well-known apps Tuya Smart or Smart Life, you can have your own white label app developed or you can create your own app from scratch with the software development kit from Tuya. The last step is Analyze and Operate, where you can keep track of statistics and serve customers. It all seems too easy to be true, but while writing this article, I went through some of the process myself with a homemade smart coffee machine. And overall it is indeed as easy as I have described here.

You can set up your own smarthome series in no time via the Tuya platform. If you opt for a White Label app (the same app as Tuya Smart or Smart Life, but with your own logo above it), the prototype will be ready within one day. If you continue to produce your self-selected products, Tuya promises that this mass production will be realized within fifteen days. Obviously, Tuya offers many more options than this somewhat simplistic explanation, but it does show the strength of the company. Everyone can have their ‘own’ products developed. And that is also the reason that new products that work via Tuya are springing up like mushrooms and many companies are jumping on the ‘Tuya train’ en masse.

Tuya: Standard options or own products

So you can set all options to default, but fortunately for the somewhat more serious companies you can also do a lot yourself. You can bring your own hardware and completely create your own software with Tuya’s software kit. This way your smarthome products get much more of their own look. The possibilities for companies are therefore enormous. Tuya brings companies that need each other closer together and supplies the underlying technology itself. Each company then chooses its own implementation (hardware and / or software) to release products working with the Tuya platform.

With some companies with products that work via Tuya, you see that both the hardware and the software are very similar compared to other competitors. Choose products from Tuya’s database, put your own logo in the White Label app and you’re done. This is a smart choice if you were one of the first companies to start with this, but now there are so many different companies that use this option that it is no longer possible to distinguish yourself.

Now is the time to put a complete spin on it, making it seem like a truly unique product. Build your own app with the software development kit and bring your own hardware if possible. Whichever option companies choose. They all have in common that they run on the Tuya platform. Most Tuya-enabled products work over Wi-Fi, but the company also offers Zigbee, Bluetooth and GPRS solutions.

The Tuya Smart IoT Platform

The Tuya Smart IoT Platform: White Label app

If you choose a White Label app, you will in fact get a copy of the Tuya Smart or Smart Life app, but with your own logo. For example, look at the smarthome series of LSC Smart Connect, which is available from the Action chain. You don’t actually have to use the LSC Smart Connect app at all here, but can also just use the Tuya Smart or Smart Life app. This actually applies to many more products that are Tuya-enabled. You are not tied to one brand or one app. Products from different manufacturers can often be used with each other, where you only have to choose one app according to your preference. This is a great advantage for consumers, because you are only committed to one app, despite the fact that you may be using products from different manufacturers.

Tuya is here to stay

The Tuya Smart IoT Platform consists of embedded network modules that other manufacturers can use to create products such as lamps, switches, cameras and other products. In fact, anyone can buy a license and have a branded app made at Tuya. Tuya supplies the software and the underlying cloud. You just tick the option you want and some time later your product is ready. However, if you want a unique product, you can also get started with your own hardware and software that you can make with the software development kit that Tuya offers to customers.

The Tuya Smart IoT Platform

Privacy and security

Tuya is largely a Chinese company, though, so what about privacy? Before you use a Tuya product you will see a privacy policy. However, you will not get much information from this, because apart from ‘We are not going to abuse your data’ you will not find much information in it. However, you do send your data to China. On the other hand, we also transfer a lot of our data to the United States (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.) and we often don’t even think about that. Now Tuya is not some demand Chinese company, but a major global player. There are no known stories of abuse at Tuya, so you will have to decide for yourself to what extent you consider this a problem. If you don’t trust it completely, the advanced user can often flash the smart products that work via Tuya himself,

Stay unique

Various manufacturers at home and abroad are working on new smart home products that work via this ever-expanding platform. The possibility to have products work with each other via one app, the options for manufacturers to deliver themselves (hardware and / or software), but also having this done via Tuya and the mostly affordable products for consumers will ensure that we In the near future we will hear a lot more from Tuya. I am afraid that the market will be over-saturated. Almost every week we see new products from companies launched via Tuya (with or without their own hardware and / or software). Already you can no longer arrive with the standard White Label app. Tuya is here to stay, but make sure as a manufacturer that you put your own spin on the whole.

More information

Would you like to know more about the products that work through Tuya? We have recently tested LSC Smart Connect from the Action and some products from Woox. Read the review of LSC Smart Connect and the review of the smart power strip, two cameras and the smart lamp from Woox. We expect to test more products that are Tuya-enabled in the near future.