Will Eero's WiFi mesh networking tech get fused into Amazon Echo gadgets?

Amazon just heightened its all-out Alexa offensive: The e-commerce giant revealed Monday tat it has inked a deal to acquire Eero, a start-up focused on mesh WiFi technology.

Eero’s tech promises home WiFi with a quick setup and stable, high-performing wireless Internet in every part of the house. Amazon, as a marketplace that sells Eero devices, had a front-row view of the start-up’s products, as well as its consumer sentiment.

“We are incredibly impressed with the Eero team and how quickly they invented a WiFi solution that makes connected devices just work,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices and Services. “We have a shared vision that the smart home experience can get even easier, and we’re committed to continue innovating on behalf of customers.”

The tech at stake is for mesh networking, a system in which various devices work together to extend wireless coverage. In a typical home networking scenario, devices all connect to a single router, which has a limited coverage area and signal strength. With mesh networking, gadgets can communicate with each other to expand the signal.

Now this tech belongs to Amazon — and the company can’t help but drop hints about what it will do with the new asset.

Limp mentioned the “smart home experience,” which, for Amazon, is essentially synonymous with Echo devices. So it would make sense if the company integrated Eero’s technology into Alexa gadgets. For some consumers, the promise of better, faster and more reliable WiFi everywhere in the home can be compelling, and it would allow Amazon to make the case for stationing Echo devices all over the house.

If that’s the plan, this foray into home networking comes off like a shot across the bow of voice rival Google, which offers its own mesh networking devices. Google WiFi — née OnHub — acts as a centerpiece of sorts for Google’s vision of a Google Assistant-powered smart home. Although Google WiFi and Google Home devices work together, they remain distinct product lines.

For months, critics and reviewers have been wondering when the search giant will unite these two device categories. Now it seems that Amazon may beat it to the punch.

As for whether consumers would trust Amazon with their Internet connectivity — that’s a critical question, and it’s not at all clear. But either way, home voice appliances look to be moving beyond fun novelty into essential gear territory.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus