Amazon has become a ubiquitous part of the modern world, but now it may even make its way into rental properties. On Thursday, Amazon unveiled its Alexa for Residential program. This program will make it easy for landlords to include Amazon and Alexa-powered devices in rental units across the country, including the Echo Dot and other products.
The idea is that Alexa’s smart speakers will be available from day one in rental properties. Even before renters move in, Alexa will be able to help with self-guided tours by providing information about square footage, monthly rent, and more. Renters can link their Amazon accounts to the speaker to access all of Alexa’s features. Once a renter moves out, property managers can reset the speakers without removing their connections to existing smart-home devices.
Amazon has taken numerous steps to ensure its position as the default smart home platform, viewing itself as a utility like lights and plumbing. In 2018, the homebuilding company Lennar began including Alexa and smart locks in its new builds. Amazon has also created partnerships with hotels and college dorms to bring its devices into these spaces. By doing this, Amazon places itself at the front of the pack and makes it more difficult for its competitors — Google Assistant and Siri — to claim their part of the spotlight.
On the other hand, re-using smart assistants that other people have used creates privacy concerns. Amazon addressed these concerns by saying that property managers cannot access customer data. Renters do not have to worry about their landlords listening in on them. By default, voice recordings are deleted daily and are inaccessible to human reviewers. If a renter links their Amazon account to a rental Alexa, they will have access to the platform’s full suite of privacy features.
The moves by Amazon to bring it into more spaces as a service will likely help grow the already-impressive market lead that Alexa has over the competition, especially given the partnerships Amazon has formed with companies like Iotas, Stratis IoT, and Sentient Property Services. Amazon will also be opening up the potential for partnerships with more companies.
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