Amazon’s device ecosystem is vast. Here’s why it’s gonna get even bigger
It may be best known as an online retailer, but Amazon has also become a giant in the tech world with a vast portfolio of devices, from e-readers to video doorbells and everything in between.
Amazon Echo, the family of smart speakers that houses voice assistant Alexa, has made its way into millions of homes across the country, effectively creating a new device market and launching the smart home category. In 2021 alone, Amazon shipped 21.9 million smart speakers in the US, according to a report from a research firm and there are probably close to 100 million in use across the country.
And the tech giant’s product ambitions keep growing. On September 28, Amazon is likely to add a new wave of devices to its portfolio, as it is hosting a virtual event that is expected to see a number of new and updated devices unveiled.
SEE: Amazon is set to announce a bunch of devices on September 28
Amazon’s strategy is to create products for every aspect of your life, to make everyday tasks easier. By creating products to fill even more niches, it cements consumers in its product ecosystem.
“Our research shows that most consumers prefer buying smart home devices from a single vendor or brand, rather than mixing and matching multiple brands,” said Adam Wright, head of research at technology analyst IDC, at ZDNET.
“Part of this is driven by brand loyalty and trust – consumers who have a positive experience with a brand that provides smart home devices and services are more likely to trust that brand and seek additional products and services from that brand rather than risk using a different brand that is unfamiliar to me,” he says.
When launched, Alexa didn’t go far beyond the scope of answering a question about the weather or playing a song. However, Amazon has embraced ambient computing and continued to expand the scope of what its voice assistants do to build an integrated smart home.
“We want to make customers’ lives more convenient and provide peace of mind through ambient experiences,” an Amazon spokesperson told ZDNET. “For us, that means delivering experiences that are easy to use, useful, and always available. It also means creating technology that understands you and adapts accordingly, is there when you need it, and fades away when you don’t.” not.”
SEE: Amazon asks: Where do you want to take Alexa next?
Amazon has developed a wide range of devices that you can control via Alexa to clean your house, turn on lights, or order items at your doorstep. There are Amazon light bulbs, doorbell cameras, alarm systems, smart plugs, thermometers, air purifiers, photo frames, pet feeders, vacuum cleaners, toaster ovens and e-readers that all connect to its digital infrastructure.
“For Amazon, it helps to bring its products to more homes, and it can do that by offering a wide range of device types at different price points,” says David Watkins, vice president, media and home. intelligent at technology analyst Strategy Analytics.
“The more consumers who regularly use its products, the more data it can collect to help drive its e-commerce business through greater personalization, efficiency and speed of the supply chain. supply,” he said.
The devices that make up Amazon’s selection aren’t limited to smart home devices — Amazon is also expanding into the automotive space and wearables market.
The tech giant has acquired other brands that can add to its seamless product environment. Over the past five years, Amazon has acquired security camera company Blink Home, for an undisclosed amount, and doorbell camera company Ring for around $1 billion. Amazon is also in the process of buying robot vacuum cleaner company iRobot in a deal valued at around $1.7 billion.
Think you know every device that Amazon makes? You might be surprised how well this wallet has grown:
tablets of fire
Fire Tablets for Kids
Fire TV sticks
Echo smart displays
Echo Link (a device that lets you connect streaming music to your stereo system)
Echo glow (multicolor smart lamp)
Amazon smart plug
Amazon Halo Group (health and wellness group)
Amazon Smart Thermostat
Amazon Astro (domestic robot)
Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor
Amazon eero (Wi-Fi system)
Amazon smart soap dispenser
Ring doorbells, lights and security systems
Blink doorbell and security systems
In addition to these products, third-party manufacturers and developers have also created a range of hundreds of thousands of non-Amazon devices that also connect to Alexa. Last year, Amazon said more than 900,000 registered Alexa developers had built 130,000 Alexa Skills and hundreds of Alexa Built-in products in categories such as PCs, wearables, smart home devices and cars. About 140,000 smart home products are now compatible with Alexa.
SEE: Now that Alexa is everywhere, it’s time for developers to cash in | ZDNET
Of course, a huge motivator behind Amazon’s product creation is the desire to get people to subscribe to its paid services through the use of their devices. In addition to its most common service, Amazon Prime, Amazon offers hundreds of services it benefits from, such as Audible, Prime Gaming, Prime Video, Amazon Music, and Amazon Fresh.
“In the smart home market, devices are just vehicles for service delivery, and Amazon seems happy to forgo some revenue from the devices themselves in favor of increasing service revenue,” said Wright.
The potential is vast, he adds, “ranging from an Amazon Music subscription through a smart speaker, a subscription to Echo Guard services also through smart speakers and other devices with a microphone, to to home monitoring and security services via Ring devices, and much more.”
Other big tech companies like Google and Samsung have entered the smart home market with similar strategies. Yet, due to the breadth of its device lineup and the strength of its e-commerce brand and other services, Amazon remains far ahead.
“When the smart home market started a few years ago, most brands focused on a single device or category. But most vendors quickly realized they had to leverage their existing technologies or creating or acquiring new ones to stay competitive,” says Wright.
Google has developed a series of devices under the Google Nest brands, including speakers, displays, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras and doorbells. Compared to Amazon’s number of devices, Google is only making a dent in the smart home scene.
Besides leading the smart home market, Amazon is also at the forefront of voice assistant technology, with no assistant being as popular as Alexa.
“Amazon is also well positioned to be the default provider of voice commerce solutions, having established Alexa as the leading home voice assistant,” says Watkins. “Voice commerce is still in its infancy, but Amazon is betting big on it becoming a major commerce platform in the future.”
So where does Amazon go from here? We can expect Amazon to perfect its current technology and develop new ways to improve the overall user experience in the smart home.
For example, Amazon can work to build consumer trust by developing better security and privacy protocols. We can also expect to see upgrades to Alexa Hunches and Alexa Routines, along with other steps to improve Alexa’s accuracy in performing and predicting tasks.
“I think they will continue to innovate more around more personalized, contextualized, automated and proactive experiences, and that requires data generation, collection and analysis – indeed smart home devices, by their very nature even, need to generate and analyze data to function,” says Wright. “That’s what gets lost in most conversations about privacy in the smart home.”
There is, however, a big gap in Amazon’s portfolio – one that is going to be difficult to fill. If it’s too complicated for voice prompts, you need a smartphone to control your smart home. Amazon attempted to release a smartphone in 2015, its ‘3D’ Fire Phone, but despite spending a lot on the project, it didn’t garner much interest and was quickly abandoned.
“Amazon does not have a smartphone presence and therefore needs to develop multiple hardware solutions in order to compete for consumer attention whether at home, but especially when on the go,” says Watkins. “Smartphones are at the center of the universe for most people today and Amazon’s status outside of the home environment will always be weakened as long as smartphones remain the best.”