Amazon Adding Partnerships With Home, Apartment, Hotel Developers To Become Dominant Smart Home Provider
For years, data-gathering has been at the heart of Amazon's growth ambitions, and its smart home technology is one of its prime methods. The company's Alexa Smart Properties division has entered into agreements with homebuilder Lennar Corp. and multifamily REIT BSR to outfit houses and apartments with thermostats, locks and other technology ready to be paired with Amazon Echo devices, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Lennar partnership began last year with a pilot program to build model homes as showrooms for smart home integration across the U.S. In November, Amazon also partnered with smart home service Zego, which installs a "network of smart home devices" for multifamily landlords, along with a hub to connect them with a resident-provided Echo, according to the WSJ.
Acquired by rent payment software company PayLease earlier this year, Zego hopes to soon allow tenants to connect their bank accounts to their Amazon accounts and say, "Alexa, pay my rent." Zego, Lennar and BSR all reportedly pay discount prices for access to Alexa software.
Not satisfied with residential integration, Amazon has launched an Alexa for Hospitality service with Marriott International as its initial partner, the WSJ reports. The platform will allow in-room Echo devices special abilities to order more towels or give hotel-curated restaurant recommendations.
Marriott and future hotel partners will also be able to track what guests ask of their devices as a way to learn more about customer preferences, though the WSJ reports that Amazon will not allow hotels to hear any audio recordings the devices make.
Through partnerships, Amazon hopes to eventually develop smart homes that won't even require its speakers to hear resident requests and gather their data, according to the WSJ. Through connected devices that will integrate more voice control and remember user decisions and preferences, homes could be telling Amazon and its partners what its residents are like and what they like without those residents ever buying an Amazon product.