Amazon’s latest product announcements and updates on Wednesday demonstrate a core strategy: to be as integrated into the lives of consumers and business owners as possible.
Among the many changes announced during its press-only event, Amazon debuted a sleep tracking alarm clock, a new Kindle that allows users to write on it, an enhanced shopping feature for the Echo Show and updates to its Astro robot to help businesses dealing with crime.
One particular update to its security device line was meant for small business owners. Amazon’s Astro robot, which is known for being an at-home assistant, will now have a Virtual Security Guard integration. For U.S. business owners who are willing to pay the added subscription fee, this robot can patrol the store while nobody is present. It can also connect with support at Rapid Response to remotely control the robot and have a two-way talk with the intruders.
“Whether you own a coffee shop, car dealership, jewelry store, or salon, your business deserves the same protection your home gets when you use Ring Alarm,” Andrew Vloyanetes, Amazon’s general manager for Ring, said in a blog post. “Just as we have done for our residential customers, we continue to create customizable solutions you can tailor to your business’ needs. I’m excited to continue innovating with businesses in mind, all in the spirit of our mission to make neighborhoods safer.”
The new Halo Rise device brings a unique approach to sleep tracking. Instead of requiring a customer to wear a smartwatch, the clock uses a low-energy sensor to monitor the breathing patterns of the sleeper closest to it. There is no camera or microphone in the device, which is also able to wake users up with a sunrise-like light and provides recommendations to improve your room’s environment. The company told Retail Dive that Halo Rise does not collect any biometric data.
In addition to sleep tracking, the mass retailer is hoping to help consumers shop more efficiently from home. The Echo Show’s new Shop the Look functionality allows users to voice what they are looking for — such as “show me green leggings” — and receive other recommendations to go along with it on screen.
Amazon is a major player in the smart home market, and these product releases show it doesn’t plan to change that. Expanding its smart devices into businesses could be a way to strengthen its market share. The smart home market in the U.S. is expected to reach $31.5 billion in revenue in 2022, a 9% increase from around $28 billion in 2021, according to data from Statista.
Behind Amazon's smart home strategy is the belief in what it calls ambient intelligence, which is described as the concept that "technology is working for you when you need it, but recedes into the background when you don't. A home is like a device with many different devices inside. What we're doing now is we're stitching that all together so technology can do things for you without you having to tell it,” according to Marja Koopmans, director of health and smart home at Amazon.