Amazon’s Smart Home Play

Photo by Peter J. Thompson/National Post
Peter J. Thompson/National Post

How the Amazon Echo became an unlikely leader in the smart home war

Financial Post, March 7, 2016 • When Inc. first unveiled its voice-controlled cylindrical speaker, the Echo, in late 2014, it was met with delight — and a lot of unease.

The online retail and technology giant touted the Bluetooth speaker’s ability to both talk and listen, allowing users to set alarms, hear weather forecasts, control music playback and, of course, order merchandise through Amazon. “Amazon’s weird Siri-like device is yet another way to get you to shop,” Wired declared when the device launched.

But today, Amazon Echo and its voice-controlled Alexa virtual assistant are known for more than just what you tell to “re-order toilet paper.” The US$180 device has emerged as a serious contender in the smart home platform war and Amazon is now doubling down on the technology.


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