Amazon Wants You To Live In An Alexa-Powered House
Amazon has been busy as of late disrupting various commercial real estate sectors, from brick-and-mortar retail to the potential reshaping of the office market with its second headquarters. Now the e-commerce giant is looking to be an essential part of residential real estate.
For Amazon, it isn't enough for consumers to buy its Alexa system and take it home — the tech giant wants new houses to already come with the system built in.
Toward that end, Amazon invested an unspecified amount from the Amazon Alexa Fund into Plant Prefab, a housing design and prefabrication company based in California's Inland Empire that recently raised a $6.7M Series A funding round.
The funding will go toward growing Plant Prefab, but the company will also presumably help make Amazon a bigger player in the housing market through Alexa-equipped prefab houses.
Plant Prefab manufactures custom single- and multifamily properties. According to the company, it is the first home factory in the nation focused on sustainable construction, and its approach reduces construction time by 50% and cost by 10% to 25% in major cities.
"Part of this effort involves making sure our homes meet our clients' lifestyle needs, and having greater and more effective smart home technology and integration is part of that," Plant Prefab CEO Steve Glenn told Architectural Digest.
The investment in Plant Prefab comes on the heels of Amazon's rolling out more than a dozen new Alexa products in late September. These include new hardware, such as new Echo devices, Alexa for cars and smart plugs, as well as new Alexa features.
The e-commerce giant isn't shy about its ambitions for Alexa.
"We want you to have access to Alexa everywhere — in your kitchen, in your living room, in your office and now in your car or truck,” Amazon Alexa Senior Vice President Tom Taylor said when the new products were introduced.
Earlier this year, Amazon partnered with major homebuilder Lennar to create "Amazon Experience Centers," which are model homes containing built-in Alexa-controlled appliances. The goal is to persuade homeowners and homebuyers to embed Amazon services into their houses.