Amazon takes the lead in smart home devices
Echo, Amazon’s voice-controlled cloud-based personal assistant that often goes by its trigger-name, Alexa, has apparently taken the lead among smart home control devices.
According to data compiled from over 576,000 smart home device and application consumer reviews from January 2015 through late February from Argus Insights, Echo was the most discussed smart home ecosystem.
A close second was Apple’s HomeKit program, which uses the company’s voice-based intelligent personal assistant, Siri. Google’s ecosystem, its Works with Nest environment, came in a distant third.
While the discussion level points to a “real battle” between Amazon and Apple, the market research firm finds users are frustrated that Apple’s HomeKit forces users to rely on iOS devices, whether iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. Echo benefits from its broad compatibility and multiuser capabilities.
“Consumers are taking notice that Amazon is choosing a community garden strategy over a walled garden approach favored by Google and Apple,” said John Feland, CEO, Argus Insights, in a statement.
Most recently, Argus Insights found consumer interest in Amazon Echo spiked since it was broadly promoted at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. TV ads featuring Alec Baldwin and Jason Schwartzman have also been running steadily.
Now ranking among Amazon’s top-selling items in consumer electronics, Echo has received more than 33,000 Amazon reviews at a nearly five-star rating. Echo launched in November 2014 with 13 skills, including Amazon Music, setting timers and learning the weather. With the help of third-party developers, it now has more than 300. In February, thermostats were added as Echo’s second home device integration after adding lighting systems last October.
Last week, Amazon introduced the $129 Tap, a portable battery-powered version of the $170 Echo, and an $89 Dot, which has a less powerful speaker than Echo but hooks up to another speaker.
Writing for Forbes, Aaron Tilley believes other smart home device makers will have to incorporate voice-based interactions to match the “ambient intelligence” Echo delivers. He writes, “Smartphone-controlled light bulbs and thermostats were fun at first. Now it all just feels like a drag.”
- Amazon Introduces Echo Dot and Amazon Tap, Two New Alexa-Enabled Devices – Amazon.com
- Amazon Echo Winning the Battle for Consumer Delight in Smart Home Ecosystem – Argus Insights
- Amazon Echo Emerges As Surprise Leader In Smart Home Platform War – Forbes
- Amazon’s Echo Dot lets you put Alexa inside any speaker – The Verge
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has Amazon achieved a first-mover advantage in the smart home control devices space with Echo? What adjustments may Amazon, Google and others have to make?