Enter the smart home of the future, one that works a little harder for you – About Amazon
Marja Koopmans’ home has graced her Seattle street for more than 100 years, dating back to when lumber, coal, and shipyards, rather than software, were powering the local economy. But her house is no museum. Walk inside and it feels like the future—a future you can live in today.
As the Director of Health and Smart Home at Amazon, it’s no surprise Koopmans lives in a smart home, a place where devices as different as plugs, lights, vacuum cleaners, thermostats, and TV sets talk to each other, perform tasks and chores, and make life easier and more efficient for their owners. “The smart home is a home that works for you,” said Koopmans, who spends her days at Amazon assembling the building blocks for the future of the smart home. “That’s the bottom line for me.”
And work it does. Lights turn on when Koopmans and her family wake up and turn off when they tuck in, a fan drawing power from a smart plug whirs to life in time for her yoga routine, a Ring camera keeps an eye on an aging pet bunny, and Koopmans talks to her TV when she wants to watch a new episode of The Rings of Power. When the Koopmans depart, smart locks secure the house, and a robot vacuum roams the place, picking up hair their black lab shed on the blonde slats of the wooden floor.
The systems and devices all work together by Alexa, the AI voice assistant developed by Amazon; Echo, the company’s smart speaker; and eero, its wireless mesh Wi-Fi technology.
Alexa is also the lifeblood fueling the growth of ambient intelligence, the concept that “technology is working for you when you need it, but recedes into the background when you don’t,” Koopmans says. “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. It will sense; it will have a hunch that everybody’s gone to bed, so let’s turn off the lights. Or Alexa will have a hunch that I’ve left home and start the vacuum so I can come home to a clean house.”
It may be magical, but it’s not magic
The smart home brings to mind Arthur C. Clarke’s claim that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” But its building blocks are here today. There are already over 140,000 devices that are compatible with Alexa. More than 300 million smart home devices are now connected to Alexa, and Alexa is used to control smart home devices hundreds of millions of times each week, according to Amazon’s data.
This week, Amazon announced additions to this bounty at the annual Devices & Services fall launch event in Seattle, including a contactless sleep tracker, Halo Rise, and upgrades to Fire TV, Echo smart speakers, and Astro the home robot, among other technology. Halo Rise, for example, combines a sleep tracker with a smart alarm and wake-up light. It uses algorithms running in the background to analyze sleep and give users insights to adjust the environment, like lowering the room temperature, to improve sleep quality. The new Fire TV Ambient Experience uses the power of Alexa to enable you to see helpful information, manage your smart home, listen to or …….