Amazon’s habit of unleashing a massive load of announcements is fully intact.
The company’s Key by Amazon in-home and in-car delivery service, which grants delivery people access to people’s houses, car trunks and P.O. boxes to deliver packages, now extends to the garage, as well as commercial and residential properties, such as offices and apartment buildings.
The knee-jerk reaction is to assume that the company realized the fundamental flaw in its initial conceit. To put it bluntly, some consumers were creeped out by the thought of letting strangers into their inner sanctums. Indeed, garage or office access certainly feels less intrusive.
But whether that’s true may be less important than the fact that, where other companies might have scrapped the concept altogether, Amazon essentially pressed onward and, in fact, expanded the offering.
Amazon may be obsessed with fashion hunting, but its bread and butter comes from convenience. So the company is continuously working on refining its delivery mechanisms, and it apparently won’t stop tackling every source of friction in the buying process it can find.
Key by Amazon works via smart home devices, like fobs, connected locks and smart cameras, so it behooves the company to ensure a robust list of gadgets supports the service. This universe of Key-compatible products has grown to include Schlage’s hubless Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt — the first Wi-Fi-enabled smart lock for Key — as well as Ring’s smart doorbell camera and app.
Speaking of Ring, the Amazon-owned outfit unveiled the fifth iteration of its flagship device. Ring Door View Cam users can use their Alexa devices to speak with or display visitors, as well as receive notifications when the sensor detects movement near the door. New smart lighting products and a home alarm flesh out the Ring line-up.
That’s not the only Alexa news. The company has also pushed the boundaries of its voice assistant’s sprawling territory with new integrations with nearly 40 partners — including GE Lighting, Kohler, Loen, Klipsch, Jabra, LG, Vizio, Qualcomm and Petcube, among others. The categories span smart homes, kitchen tech, home appliances, security, entertainment, automotive and lifestyle.
A scan of the exhibitors and products at CES should settle any questions about the popularity, and presumable staying power, of voice assistants. They are everywhere at this year’s show.
The Alexa offensive is real. And growing.