Move over Apple and Google, because Amazon has stealthily become a new leader in the advancement of smart home technology. Both tech giants absolutely dominate the smartphone business and are dutifully trying to do the same to infotainment systems in vehicles, but when it comes to the home things are much different.
For reasons everyone can debate for years to come, Apple and Google have both dropped the ball with smart home tech. Instead of using their AI creations to help adjust the temperature and turn on lights remotely, they’ve floundered and made halfway efforts to create a household-bound hub.
The Apple HomeKit has stalled out since it launched in 2014, with devices from only 15 brands that work with it. The company could make a bigger push and get more resources on board, but it’s pretty clear the big guns in Cupertino don’t see the value. Google’s Brillo and Weave might sound impressive on paper, but most people have never even heard of them. In fact, most are quite familiar with Nest, which was purchased by Google, and has suffered some embarrassing hardware issues. Meanwhile, Amazon has swooped in with Echo, which many people are recognizing is revolutionary.
It’s not that Amazon Echo and the Alexa AI is horribly complex. In fact, the true genius of the technology is that it’s relatively simple. After all, when a person’s tired and wants to go to bed, they don’t want to navigate through complex commands to make sure the lights are off and the doors are locked. Simplicity in design is after all what made the iPhone such a huge hit, versus other smartphones that were difficult to use.
Pretty much anyone, even kids, can intuitively interact with Alexa. The AI recognizes most natural speech patterns and its many microphones makes it so you don’t have to shout commands. Ordering pizza, an Uber or more popcorn from Amazon.com is easy, and people love easy.
Adding to the appeal of Amazon’s Echo is the price. It costs far less than most hardware, and the company doesn’t tack on all kinds of expensive peripherals to fatten its profits. This has encouraged quite a few people to take the plunge into the smart home market, because the risk is minimal.
Another point that’s making Amazon a market leader is how easy it is to connect Echo to other devices. Through a fairly simple setup process, users can control the lighting, locks, temperature, even a slow cooker by just talking with Alexa.
Instead of just sitting back and enjoying the gathering momentum with Echo, Amazon has decided to really leave the competition in its dust with the Echo Dot and Echo Tap. Both devices are even cheaper than Echo, plus they’re portable. That means users can take them around town or on vacations. It’s inevitable that others will see the devices and want to know what they do, which in turn will make Echo more popular with consumers.
And now Amazon has pulled out another surprise, releasing a Dash Replenishment Service that integrates into certain devices. Users just press the button to order more pet food, laundry detergent, or whatever supplies that are running low. It’s a simple and genius move, which is why Amazon will continue to be a leader in the smart home revolution.