Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) was the butt of jokes a couple of years ago when it released the Amazon Echo, a $180 tube cylinder smart home platform. It was met with ridicule from consumers and pundits who thought it would be a joke akin to the Amazon Fire Phone. But Echo’s success has prompted other tech titans and app makers to take notice.
Amazon.com – the Early Leader in Smart Home Market
It was in late 2014 when Amazon decided to unveil a brand new Internet-connected home gadget that comes with a digital personal assistant named Alexa. Echo was met with laughter and a satirical alternative to its first promo video.
Amazon may be asking at this moment: who’s laughing now?
A new study from market research firm Argus Insights, using 576,000 smart home reviews since January 2015, found that Amazon Echo is commanding the conversation. Amazon Echo is steering the ship, which means it’s owning the infant smart home industry. Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) HomeKit and Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Nest rounded out the top three.
With that being said, Amazon’s Echo is prompting not just the likes of Apple and Google to reevaluate their smart home ecosystems. It’s also seeing smart home gadget makers look to the technology behind Echo, and to integrate with Amazon’s Internet-connected gadget. Vivint and Alarm.com are just some of the brands incorporating Echo into to their plans.
The success of Echo is leading to the obvious conclusion that smart home devices are a lot more efficient and easier to use than smartphones. To some, it takes too much time and effort to whip out a smartphone, key in a password and search for an app to turn down the thermostat or turn on a light.
Echo is proving to be a lot more useful than turning off a light or shutting off the stove. Popular services like Spotify and Uber are looking to make their way to the Amazon product. It was reported this week that NBC News recently launched an Amazon Echo Alexa app dedicated to this year’s U.S. presidential election. When asked, Alexa will tell you the top headlines, candidate bios, the election calendar and the latest delegate count.
What may be the most befuddling pairing as of yet, and part of the marketing scheme behind “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the voice assistant can now help you solve the mystery behind the murder of Batman’s parents. Called “The Wayne Investigation,” Amazon, DC Comics and Warner Bros. have devised an audio adventure game just in time for the release of the blockbuster film later this month.
Amazon Echo has already moved beyond playing your favorite song or telling you what’s on your grocery list. Echo is, even in its early stage, leading the smart home market and the Internet of Things (IoT).
For today’s consumers with low attention spans, smartphone-connected microwaves are proving to be passe. Bring on digital personal assistants!
Smart Home Market’s $59 Billion Valuation
The smart home market is in its early stages. There is no denying it. It’s not so much about disrupting the industry right now, but making your name synonymous with it, which is what Amazon is currently doing.
Amazon may also be playing the long game. A Markets and Markets report on the smart home gadgets market projected that the industry could be worth $58.68 billion within the next four years. Other reports have pegged the number at $71 billion by the year 2018.
Whatever the case, this means brands are trying to grab as much of that pie as possible before somebody else takes most of it.
It seems consumers are driven towards the idea behind smart home technology because it can better manage their energy needs, and help cut down on costs. Also, smart home gadgets can improve security, enhance convenience and provide better comfort.
For anyone who has followed the IoT over the last few years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. In the last year alone, tech firms have unleashed the power of IoT with a variety of products:
- Belkin WeMo – it controls wall switches and plugs from your computer or app.
- Canary – it provides users with HD surveillance footage of your home in real-time.
- Interactive Voice ivee Sleek – it’s an alarm clock that complements smart locks, control systems and weather apps (it’s a technological makeover of the conventional alarm clock).
- Sen.se Mother – a device of smart sensors that you can set to “smartify” everything and anything.
Obviously, from this list, IoT is “smartifying” the home, but it could transform everyday life in the coming decade. Everything would be impacted, from the way we tackle traffic to the way we fly airplanes.
And Amazon is itching ever so closer to these areas. Just ask Alexa.