Amazon envisions a future in which its Alexa digital assistant is available in many homes, including rentals. The company has introduced Alexa for Residential, a new solution for property owners and managers who want to offer their buyers and renters ‘smart’ experiences, including voice-controlled lighting, appliances, and entertainment. of course, such applications would raise some important privacy questions.
Anyone who has used Alexa is likely familiar with how Alexa for Residential works — the solution would simply ensure the connected items needed for a smart home are available in the property for the buyer or renter to enjoy. Property managers would work with solution providers to implement Alexa-enabled systems in their property.
This could include, for example, things like connected thermostats, light bulbs, and speakers. As well, property managers could ensure some Alexa skills are pre-enabled, such as one designed specifically for residents who want to, for example, check their account or submit a request.
Because these devices are set up and configured ahead of time, residents wouldn’t need to acquire and install the devices themselves — something that would likely be most appealing to the elderly and anyone who isn’t comfortable setting up devices on their own. As well, property managers would be the ones tasked with resetting the devices after the existing tenant moves out.
Amazon is connecting interested property managers with solution providers, and is also accepting requests from companies that want to become an Alexa for Residential solution provider. Existing providers who are already on board include Sentient Property Systems, IOTAS, and Stratis.
Of course, this does bring up a point of concern for some people — what about those who aren’t interested in smart devices and who would rather live in a ‘dumb’ home? Having a house filled with microphones is unappealing to some people who may be uncomfortable giving Amazon that much access to their home and habits. For its part, Amazon stresses its privacy and security features, pointing potential users to this support page.