Amazon Echo leads mindshare in smart home platform war

“Tech giants have been trying to figure out the world of Internet-connected home gadgets — everything from light bulbs to door locks to thermostats,” Aaron Tilley writes for Forbes. “The market is still early, but seems to hold enough promise that companies like Apple and Google have been trying to figure out angles into it with their own ecosystems.”

“But lately, Amazon is taking up more and more of this conversation, according to a new study from market researcher firm Argus Insights. Amazon Echo, a $180 tube-shaped speaker that users can command with their voice, has become one of the most popular platforms for these kind of devices,” Tilley writes. “Based on 576,000 smart home reviews gathered since January 2015, Amazon Echo has become the most discussed smart home ecosystems. Apple’s HomeKit program follows in close second. The ‘Works with Nest’ program for third-party integrations with Alphabet-owned Nest products is in third place.”

Echo incorporates Amazon’s voice-based intelligent assistant, Alexa, and provides a sort of ‘ambient intelligence’ that makes it easy to interact and control devices around the home. It’s a lot simpler than most smart home devices that require the user to pull out their smartphone, unlock their phone and find the app to do something as simple as turning on a light.” Tilley writes. “‘Amazon is really the first one to nail far-field voice — that’s a non-trivial problem,’ said Stuart Lombard, president and CEO of Ecobee, the maker of a WiFi-connected thermostat. ‘We see voice being a much bigger way of interacting with home devices.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s got some work to do in many places, not the least of which is HomeKit. Hopefully, WWDC and the rest of this year will see Apple with their foot on HomeKit accelerator. Otherwise, there’s soon going to be an Echo in here.


    1. Argus Insights sounds suspiciously like an anti-Apple marketing firm with clients that include both Amazon and Microsoft.

      From the company’s own Web site:

      “The iPhone stole the hearts and minds of smartphone consumers in 2008, and Argus Insights was founded to make sure no company would miss a concealed threat like the iPhone ever again. Founder and CEO…Dr. John Feland, was at CES showing off the multitouch technology of the Onyx concept phone when the iPhone was revealed to the world in January of 2007. Nokia passed up the multitouch technology being demoed by Feland…because traditional market analysts insisted the iPhone was not a threat. We know now that those analysts were wrong. At Argus Insights, we measure product and brand market fit using metrics based on Feland’s PhD research on the impact of design on business at Stanford University. Argus Insights is able to help clients see what Nokia could not…”

      Argus Insights “reports” in a given product category consistently seem to minimize the impact and success of a competing Apple product while touting a single, second-tier product in the same category.

      It strikes me this might be a glorified PR firm masquerading as a market research firm and that its sole mission is to counter the juggernaut that is Apple, Inc. At the very least, it sure seems like the founder could well have an ax to grind with Apple.

      1. Does anyone have any more info on the clients of this firm? I gleaned my info from reading their Website and a couple of “reports” on two different products with a writing approach that seemed too similar (and thus fishy) — on the Amazon Echo and a Microsoft Lumia phone.

        1. There may be hint of all this in the company name, as defined by

          In Greek Mythology, Argus was a monster with a hundred eyes, used by Hera to watch over Io. Argus was killed by Hermes and Hera, then his eyes were used to deck a peacock’s tail.

          A priestess of Hera, lo was loved by Zeus. Trying to protect her from the jealousy of Hera, Zeus turned Io into a heifer. Hera sent a gadfly to torture the heifer, which then fled across the world and finally reached Egypt, where Zeus turned her back into human form.

  1. I really like my Amazon Echo. Amazon has a feedback mechanism to improve voice recognition. This is a great idea that Apple needs to implement with Siri.

    Alexa (Echo) recognizes words and phrases that I have been trying to teach Siri now for two years.

  2. For streaming media consumption on the big screen, nothing beats the Roku 4.

    By all objective reviews, Apple loses on one or more of the following: interface, ease of use, cost, content, and AV quality.

    Amazon, for those who trust them, is increasingly becoming the best value in media distribution. And as we all know, most people don’t care one bit about security or privacy when it comes to media consumption. They are happy to pay the monthly fees and have their every click tracked.

    Apple would be wise to offer comprehensive a la carte content with a much easier interface. People want more content accessibility and less app management.

  3. Amazon can put a device in my home that listens to me when I’m dead. The only company I’m buying technology from is Apple, because, at lest for my lifetime, Tim Cook has got my back where my privacy is concerned.

      1. In related news, owner of hundreds of thousands of billboards across the country plans to track our travel via our cell phones. All in the name of the almighty dollar, every company out there is looking to amass as much data about us as they possibly can. Sometimes, like in my home, I have a say, and I say “no” to Alexa, Cortana, and Google.

        1. Clear Channel Communications, which changed its name to iHeartMedia, still dominates roadside billboards. It also owns a dominant number of terrestrial radio stations coast to coast, actively destroying the airplay of local talent in favor of pre-canned tunes.

          iHeart apps needless to say tracks users media selections and force-feeds whatever is most profitable.

          In other words, its just another FaceBook or Google. And millions of dumb consumers will give up anything for “freedom” — that is, whatever consumer junk products and services don’t cost money out-of-pocket.

    1. LOL. You think they aren’t already listening already? Notice how very quiet Amazon is on the matter of Apple’s encryption fight with the govt?

      They’re staying mum for a reason.

  4. Have to say Apple seems to be treating Homekit exactly as it did for AppleTV for endless years. If the company doesn’t show enthusiasm how the hell do they expect anyone else to do so. Equally you do have to commend Amazon on creating focus on a device to do the job that people can relate to, whereas I suspect most people don’t really understand how they would instantly control Homekit devices. Even AppleTv doesn’t make this a killer function or illuminated it for the masses. How many more times do we need to say pull your finger out and develop the technology, get it out there in a timely fashion and above all market the qualities rather than just arrogantly expecting us to go knocking at their door.

    Where is the replacement for the role SJ was doing, going on shows/events and proactively getting us all enthused about his products capabilities? You have to understand morse code to get the message these days.

    1. The current AppleTV release was more to get developers on board with the new App platform. I consider it to be a “soft” rollout to get the new device and TV OS version out to software programmers. The excitement for consumers — and Apple marketing — will kick into high gear when the first big batch of new software titles begins to arrive in Apple’s newest online marketplace.

  5. I am an Apple fan boy and really had hopes that Apple could take Siri and Apple TV and build an Echo killer product. Don’t tell anyone – but I have an Echo and LOVE IT!

  6. Yeah my Echo is so far ahead of Apple and Siri in terms of usefulness… I use it all day every day to turn lights on or off, or even dim specific lights… listen to audiobooks and morning news briefing… find movie times, local recommended restaurants, and set timers and alarms. Once you’ve been able to just walk around the house and control everything with your voice, the thought of pulling out an iPhone and opening an app to do something seems completely ridiculous.

    Apple still doesn’t even have a HomeKit app you can connect your devices to, and even if it did you’d still have to find and unlock your iPhone to access it… Or just get an Echo and use your voice.

    I mean Siri still can’t even control your Mac (although I know that’s coming). I’m also much happier with Roku than Apple TV.

    Definitely a fanboy and have stood in line for every Apple product launch to date, but I also believe Apple has really lagged behind these 2 products.

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