Builders are seeking technology partners to deliver the experiences that home buyers want. And, now, there are big stakes on the table: Maintaining the builder brand and keeping the home owner secure.
As Amazon and Apple race to get consumers to buy smart devices that do everything from unlock a door to turn on lights, the companies are pursuing a second line of attack: installing the devices in homes while they are under construction. On this front, Amazon appears to have an edge.
A division of Shea Homes that builds retirement communities in Northern California, for instance, is installing Amazon Dot speakers directly into ceilings in various rooms around the house. Separately, Amazon late last year struck a large-scale deal with Lennar, one of the biggest home builders in the U.S. Under the deal, Lennar is paying to place two Echo devices and install Alexa-powered door locks, light switches and thermostats into every new house it builds. Amazon also did a deal with a division of Brookfield Homes in Washington, D.C.
By embedding a network of Alexa-powered devices into homes, Amazon can acquire more comprehensive data on people’s living habits. That gives Amazon an opportunity to sell more items as well as services, such as house cleaning. And it makes it less likely that people will switch to a rival device, locking people into Amazon’s products.
With more data—such as when people turn off the lights or when they order cleaners—Amazon could eventually make Alexa more of an assistant inside the home, according to a person familiar with Amazon’s Alexa strategy.
For instance, Alexa could start turning off the lights on its own based on what it has learned about the person’s habits. Or if a homeowner wanted to find a house cleaner, they could ask Alexa, this person said. “Alexa knows who you’ve used, and if you used that person before through Amazon. In theory, it’s connected to your calendar and knows you’re out and about noon to 4 p.m. tomorrow. Alexa can say to you, ‘Should I book the cleaners to come at noon tomorrow and I’ll let them in?’” But this scenario is some ways off, the person cautioned.Read More