What are they up to now?
Amazon is about to expand its smart home offerings in a big way. The company just announced its intention to acquire Bay Area-based home mesh router startup, Eero. It’s a pretty clear fit for the online retailer as it pushes to make Alexa a feature in the connected home.
The move also makes sense for five-year-old Eero, which, in spite of being early to the home mesh router game and pulling in some high-profile investors, has struggled. This time last year, the company laid off 30 employees — roughly one-fifth of its work force.
Amazon’s certainly got the deep pockets, and the addition of Alexa to routers from Huawei and Netgear last year demonstrate that this category can be a viable one. It makes sense, as these coverage-extending mesh routers, like Echo Dots, are designed to be plugged into every room of the home.
Amazon has been picking up a number of high-profile home automation startups in recent years, including Ring and Blink, as it looks to launch its own in-house Alexa smart home ecosystem. In many cases, Amazon has opted to retain the startups’ branding, which could bode well for the future of the Eero name — though the company admittedly doesn’t have the same sort of recognition as Ring.
“We are incredibly impressed with the eero team and how quickly they invented a WiFi solution that makes connected devices just work,” Amazon SVP Dave Limp said in a press release. “We have a shared vision that the smart home experience can get even easier, and we’re committed to continue innovating on behalf of customers.”
The deal is still waiting for all of the standard regulatory approval. Details of the acquisition have yet to be disclosed.
Amazon and Google’s grip on the voice-enabled device market is slipping, at least according to Strategy Analytics.
In a new report, the analytics firm found Amazon shipped 4 million smart speakers in the first quarter of 2018, accounting for 43 percent of the 9.2 million units shipped globally. But it also means Amazon’s global market share has been cut nearly in half since the same period last year, Strategy Analytics said.
Meanwhile, Google shipped 2.4 million units, putting it at No. 2 on the list of global smart speaker shipments, and Alibaba came in at No. 3 with 700,000 units. Apple was fourth with 600,000, followed by Xiaomi with 200,000.
In Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ annual shareholder letter, he said 2017 was Amazon’s best year to date for hardware sales. The company sold tens of millions of devices. But Amazon had a nearly three-year head start over some competitors, and it may be time to ask whether it can maintain its lead.
In the first quarter, Amazon and Google faced new competition from Apple, which released its HomePod in February. At the same time, Alibaba and Xiaomi are making waves in China.
Internet of Things has come to define modern life, especially home life. Connected TVs, alarms, even toilets are becoming more common. But what are we really looking for in a wired household? Jeff Malmad, managing director, head of mobile and Life+ at Mindshare North America—which surveyed 1,000 consumers in the U.S. this past January—said the answer could have big implications for marketers. “Privacy is paramount for consumers,” he noted. “Marketers need to make sure that it’s easy to opt in or out of connected experiences, and ensure that they’re providing people with a real value exchange for opting in. Brands have a real opportunity to make consumers’ lives easier by delivering relevant notifications and content in their time of need, whether that’s reminding them of an errand or helping them with a household task.”
Here’s a look at some stats from Mindshare showing just how interested consumers are in connected homes and everyday objects:
The “Internet of Things” is a commonly misunderstood phrase. Many people think it refers to things like an app for your heating, or turning on your kettle from your phone.
In reality however, it is a world-vision of interconnected devices, buildings, vehicles and other appliances. These “things” all communicate with each other wirelessly, carrying out independent actions without the need for human interaction.
Check out the cool info graphic thingy here.
It could be a boon for manufacturers. If they play their cards right.
The Economist: “Smart products, smart makers”