The early consensus coming out of CES is that Amazon Alexa was the star of the show. Not only did the virtual assistant technology and its physical manifestation in Echo dislodge Nest as the sexy integration partner that everyone clamors to put in their press release and on their consumer packaging, but you could sense a palpable excitement on the show floor about the potential of the voice-powered virtual assistant.
One smart home company CEO told me at CES that 2015 was the year he realized just how crucial Amazon is as a channel for his product. Basically, he said, the majority of his sales come through the online retailer.
Taken together, Amazon’s smart home strategic pillars are fascinating and compare well to a company like Apple, who seems to be almost be treating the smart home as an afterthought. As I’ve said before, while I think Apple will be successful long term with its smart home framework, HomeKit still has the feel of a market hedge, one that Apple is making just in case this whole smart home thing becomes a big deal.
Brilliant analysis from Michael Wolf.