Amazon wants Alexa to be consumer’s go-to smart home assistant. One way to accomplish this is to get Alexa in as many smart home devices as possible, including building their own in-house, like the Alexa-powered microwave. Another way is to build Alexa into an entire house from the ground up. Amazon along with Obvious Ventures, has invested in Plant Prefab, a prefabricated housing firm. The $6.7 million round will help the startup continue its mission of bringing environmentally conscious single- and multi-family housing to market quickly. Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund, said in a statement on Tuesday,
Voice has emerged as a delightful technology in the home, and there are now more than 20,000 Alexa-compatible smart home devices from 3,500 different brands. We’re thrilled to support [Plant Prefab] as they make sustainable, connected homes more accessible to customers and developers.
Smart Home Investments as a Voice Assistant Investment
Plant Prefab is the Amazon Alexa Fund’s latest investment and one of their most significant investment in the smart home to date. Amazon has been making strides in their development of the smart home with recent investments in the smart doorbell Ring, the wireless sprinkler automation Rachio and the launch of the Amazon Alexa Smart Plug. They have even been rumored to be working on a secretive domestic robot.
Making it the Developer’s Choice, Not the Consumer’s
Consumers looking to integrate their current home with smart devices have a choice when it comes to which voice assistant they would like to use. However, that choice is being made by developers when it comes to building new homes with smart home integrations. In March, residential home developers Trivselhus partnered with Apple to create Apple HomePod and SiriKit enabled smart homes while Lennar chose Amazon Alexa as their voice assistant for two new developments currently in production.
Courting new home developers is yet another opportunity for Amazon, Google, Apple and others to introduce their voice assistant to a wider audience from the ground up. While which voice assistant their new smart home integrates with might not yet be deal breaker for home buyers, developers, like with other key home features, will certainly pay attention to what consumers want. Amazon’s market share lead might be enough to convince developers, that Alexa should also be their number one voice assistant.