Alexa for Residential will be available both on Amazon's range of Alexa smart devices as well as a range of smart home products from other companies; IOTAS inc, a smart home software developer, Stratis IoT, a smart home hardware and software developer, and Sentient Property Service. Landlords will be able to have Alexa installed in rented units, either using Amazon's devices or those installed by third parties.
According to Amazon, Alexa units can be remotely reset when residents move out so that any smart devices are a blank slate for incoming residents. Users will also be able to integrate Alexa for Residential to their own smart devices if they move in within.
The standard range of Alexa features are available to residents, such as weather, shopping lists, music, and custom blueprints that users can utilize to make custom commands/functions. Landlords, however, will be able to set up special functions using Alexa for Residential, such as commands for paying rent, reserving apartment/condo amenities such as gyms and business centers, or submitting maintenance requests. Alexa can also be utilized to give guided tours of empty units to prospective renters and can provide information such as rent and amenities when prompted.
Amazon's offering is exciting and seems like a good business move, considering the proliferation of smart home utilities. Smart doorbells (which Amazon also sells) that record video and allow remote viewing of visitors even if the residents are away, thermostats that can be controlled with phone apps, smart device powered lighting, and more are becoming standard offerings among America's top tech companies. Alexa herself is already a prominent member of the smart home market, with Amazon's intelligent devices being capable of integrating specific smart home devices to allow users to turn off lights or change the temperature by voice.
Though, unsurprisingly, there are privacy concerns that are circulating as Amazon reveals its latest offering. Understandably, some consumers are balking at having Alexa thrust upon them, given the AI's history of strange glitches and privacy scandals. While Amazon offers Alexa users the chance to opt-out of having their recordings sent, and allows users to delete recordings in the app or by voice with their device, the prospect of one's landlord having remote control over an Alexa unit that came integrated into the apartment is still concerning.
Amazon has attempted to assuage these fears, stating that landlords cannot access private data of their residents and that recordings were deleted daily rather than being stored until deleted manually. Still, some consumers and members of the press are understandably concerned.
Regardless, Amazon's offering looks to be an intriguing offering. Alexa for Residential might not be commonplace at first, but it is expected that some pricier apartments may come with an integrated smart home system powered by Alexa in the coming years.