Is Amazon Echo/Alexa taking over the Home Automation Market? And Apple losing it?


(Yves Racine) #1
  • Is Apple losing the HA battle?
  • What are the impacts on SmartThings sales since Amazon echo/Alexa introduction?

  • Is Samsung/SmartThings reduced to be a secondary player in a crowded market?

  • How Google will be able to catch up?

If you look at the number of devices already supported by Amazon/Echo, it is impressive:

And, there have been no major integration issues so far…

If Amazon echo/Alexa (or something else) becomes the main interface with your devices, don’t you think that they have already won the HA battle?

  • Adding HA radios (zigbee, zwave, BLE, etc.) could be a 2nd step of the strategy along with additional HA capabilities.

Regards.


#2

Apple hasn’t actually got into it yet. So far its just been Amazon. Google is being announced today.


#3

I saw that article, and it was an interesting one. It’s written by a start up CEO who was very frustrated by the 18 month lead time and the hardware requirements to get a product approved for HomeKit. And that’s an understandable frustration.

But the fact is, the echo is not a device controller. It’s a voice UI. It’s a very good voice UI, but it doesn’t address all home automation needs. It may be enough for many people to put together disparate systems plus IFTTT plus Echo. Different people need different things, and choices good.

One obvious issue is lox. There are no locks that work with echo directly. But HomeKit has some, as obviously does SmartThings. If you want your lights to come on when you get home, you have many different options. If you want your door to unlock, you have to get either HomeKit or a hub based system.

I use both HomeKit and echo and like them both very much. I often say echo hears better, but Siri is smarter. The far field voice recognition on the echo is amazing. It’s the only thing I’ve ever found that can hear me from across the room with the television on. But I use Siri on my watch for A number of tasks, including asking whether the lights are on. (Yes, I know AskAlexa can do that, but I mostly look for plug-and-play solutions were possible since I have to pay other people to do the tech maintenance.)

these days, I do look for echo support and IFTTT support for almost any new device. And HomeKit compatibility for some specific use cases.

Right now I can’t get everything I need from any one platform. I appreciate the number of devices that are available that work with echo, but there are still some device classes missing altogether. Of course, that’s true with HomeKit as well (no voice control of the home theater), so again, I expect to be using both for a while. :sunglasses:


(Yves Racine) #4

Hi @JDRoberts,

If Amazon echo/Alexa (or something else) becomes the main interface with your devices, don’t you think that they have already won the battle?

Doing the full HA integration with certain key devices (not only the voice) could be an easy task for the big player in a second phase of their strategy…

Just my 2 cents…

P.S. If you look at all recent articles about HA, Samsung/SmartThings is not even mentioned…


#5

And as a sign of how quickly things change, the article’s author also completely missed the boat with the following statement:

Your average consumer does not have the disposable income required for Amazon Echo’s $180 price tag, particularly when there are home automation growing pains.

Since first of all, the echo has already sold millions of devices, and second, the $49 Dot isn’t mentioned.

Instead, the author suggests a $50 Amazon Fire tablet, which fails to understand the importance of the microphone array to echo’s success.

I understand the author’s concerns from a device manufacturer’s point of view. But in terms of the industry overall, I think Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Home will all have a place for awhile, especially if Amazon chooses not to carry google home unless it adds a Prime music app.


(Yves Racine) #6

Hi @JDRoberts,

My point was also about Samsung/SmartThings… They are not even mentioned in the recent articles about HA…

Would you rather talk to your devices or use a not-so-user-friendly mobile app that takes a while to load…

Regards.


(Dan P Parker) #7

What’s your problem with smoked salmon? :angry:

[quote=“JDRoberts, post:5, topic:59136”]And as a sign of how quickly things change, the article’s author also completely missed the boat with the following statement:

[quote=“JDRoberts, post:5, topic:59136, full:true”]
And as a sign of how quickly things change, the article’s author also completely missed the boat with the following statement:

Your average consumer does not have the disposable income required for Amazon Echo’s $180 price tag, particularly when there are home automation growing pains.

Since first of all, the echo has already sold millions of devices, and second, the $49 Dot isn’t mentioned.[/quote]

Not to mention that, in the grand scheme of the time, effort and expense involved in a typical home automation setup, $180…let alone the difference between $180 and $50…for a state-of-the-consumer-electronics-art voice interface is a relative drop in the bucket.


#8

Maybe, but I’ve had echo for about a year and a half, like it very much, use it all day long, but there are still some missing device classes like cameras and locks. So I still have to have other systems too.

I’m in a different situation than many people. I use home automation because I have to (I have very limited use of my hands). So everything I do is practical. I have problems that I need solved and it doesn’t bother me if it takes two or three different systems to solve them as long as I meet my budget goals.

For example, I use A nonnetworked Lutron motion sensor light in the laundry room. It costs about $25 and works perfectly. When someone goes into the laundry room, the light comes on. 10 minutes after they leave, the light goes off. It has a light sensor so it doesn’t turn on if the area is already bright. It works every time whether the Internet is available or not. I don’t need it to be scheduled or triggered by anything else or to interact with anything else. The only thing I can’t do with it is have it go on when no one is in the house, but I don’t care about that. So the fact that it doesn’t integrate with SmartThings or echo or HomeKit is a relevant to me. It solves the problem it needs to solve.

Echo is our primary method for voice control of lights in the house. But it’s not the only method. I use HomeKit on my watch if I want to be quieter or if I’m out in the yard. And we added physical switches for use by guests.

So in my own experience just because something is the primary means of control doesn’t mean that no other methods are needed.

If I had the money, I would get control 4 with echo and it would likely do everything I needed.

But since I don’t have $100,000 to spend on Home automation ( my budget is about $500 a room), I’m OK if I have to add a few additional pieces to solve the full set of problems that I want to solve.

I don’t see home automation as a zero sum game where there has to be just one winner. My brother doesn’t have a car. He rides a bicycle to work, takes Uber several times a month, and rents a U-Haul van if he needs one. The end result is that he solves all the problems that he needs to solve, and he’d rather do that then buying a minivan.

That’s how I look at my own home automation needs. I concentrate on solving the problems in a way that fits my budget rather than any particular brand loyalty.

JMO


#9

[quote=“DParker, post:7, topic:59136, full:true”]

What’s your problem with smoked salmon? :angry:
.[/quote]

The joys of voice recognition software. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I catch a lot of the errors, but of course if I’m listening to the playback, it may sound the same to me either way.


#10

[quote=“yvesracine, post:6, topic:59136, full:true”]

My point was also about Samsung/SmartThings… They are not even mentioned in the recent articles about HA…[/quote]

Samsung occasionally gets mentioned for the refrigerator that has cameras in it, but otherwise, yes, they aren’t mentioned much right now. But neither are wink or Insteon.

If SmartThings gets the TV integration to market, I expect they’ll get a bunch of press off of that again.

Would you rather talk to your devices or use a not-so-user-friendly mobile app that takes a while to load…

Amazon has been doing presentations for two or three months saying that the main consumer interface is shifting from tap to voice, just as it previously shifted from mouse to tap.

Of course there are always exceptions. For someone like me, it’s amusing that five or six years ago we required voice because we couldn’t do either mouse or tap. But it’s also true that there are some people who can’t voice, so they will end up needing the “accessibility alternative” of tap in a voice-based world.

Different people need different things, and choice is good. :sunglasses:


#11

So it’s official… The Google home device will have smartthings integration built in.

Not sure exactly what that will mean yet, but SmartThings is getting a lot of press today because of it.

Best Buy, target, and Walmart are going to carry the Google home device. Looks like not Amazon. So it will be interesting to see how it sells.


(Christopher Masiello) #12

Is Best Buy going to stop selling Amazon Echo? I saw them in there this weekend. I’ll tell you one thing this IS going to mean - Echo/Google Home are going to be artificially discounted for a while as these two try to race to the bottom for market share. Yay - good for us.


(Christopher Masiello) #13

I wouldn’t say the Echo is “taking over” the HA market. They still rely on other pieces. Plus, the amazing thing about Echo is that it integrates with a large (expanding) list of 3rd party products.
What I would say though, is that Echo is firmly entrenching itself smack dab in the middle of the HA map. They’ve already nabbed a nice piece of real estate and they’re pushing out into some of the neighbors’ yards.
I would say similar things about Google (Nest/Home/Chromecast/OhHub/etc). Same goes for players like Phillips and even Logitech. They’re not owning the market, but they’re in the neighborhood.
The real big winners are going to be the ones with the easiest, most reliable connections to the other great products. Take our favorite stuff and make it even better. (Amazon, Google, Apple?, ST, Wink?)


#14

I’m not sure about that. Amazon already nailed the bottom with the $49 dot. And they still sell most of them through the Amazon website. Which may not carry google home since it doesn’t offer Prime music.

(Amazon’s justification for dropping the Apple TV last year was that it didn’t offer Prime video. They still carried competing brands, notably Roku, but they required that any streaming devices sold on Amazon.com be able to cast Amazon Prime video. If they make that Amazon Prime music for voice assistants, they can lock out google home for now.)


(Christopher Masiello) #15

Yeah, forgot about that whole Chromecast/Apple TV move by Amazon. That’s annoying. I hope Amazon/Google/Apple/Samsung don’t get locked into some idiotic pissing match on some of these issues. Nobody wins with that crap.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #16

I think the real winner is going to be the consumer that had the product to tie it all together. I do not foresee a one product does all, at least not for another 20 years. But that thing that can provide a stable reliable service that acts as the “hub” that brings your home, work, car, mobile, and wearable all together… that is where the key is going to be.


(Christopher Masiello) #17

I still think ST “could” be that piece. They have all of the radios (if they turn BT on) and a lot of the integrations. Plus they have this amazing community of people making new integrations and functionality all the time. Just need more help keeping the guts of the platform together.


#18

Still need Lutron. :sunglasses:


(Yves Racine) #19

Hi,

Between you and me, are the “ST community members” really representative of the end users out there?

Most end users don’t want to deal with complicated setup, and I think that Amazon (although being late in HA vs. SmartThings) has now a leg up on the HA market…

It took me few minutes to connect most of my devices to Amazon, and since then, I’ve not been using ST as much…

Once you get used to verbal commands, it’s hard to get back to the ST mobile app for anything…

Just my 2 cents.
Regards.


(Geko) #20

Yep, Apple is always late to the party. But they always enter with a bang. :slight_smile: