Amazon Launched “Alexa for Residential” for Property Owners

By Bill Toulas / September 5, 2020

Amazon has launched “Alexa for Residential,” and it targets property owners looking to upgrade their offerings by incorporating smart home features. According to their market insights, the tech giant claims that 84% of renters would prefer to live in an apartment that offers these technological amenities, and a whopping 61% would even pay an additional monthly fee to enjoy them.

Alexa for Residential can be integrated to any existing smart devices on the property (lights, thermostats, TVs, etc.), can give the renter a tour of what’s available, and can be customized as required. As Amazon puts it, Alexa for Residential is a one-time investment for the owners, which brings years of financial benefits from the increased rent cost.

The customization aspect includes “beyond the walls” voice experiences like allowing the renters to manage rent payments, send maintenance requests, or ask for amenity reservations. Moreover, the owner can pre-set device settings like timeframes for using the washing machines, limits on the thermostat range, refresh UPnP on the WiFi network, and many more.

While this sounds like a no-brainer for the landlords, the tenants may see this as a threat to their privacy. After all, they’re being recorded by a device that was bought and set up by someone else and that other person just happens to have a first-hand interest on the property and the equipment they’re using.

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Amazon promises that there’s nothing to worry about on that part, as Alexa and Echo devices have multiple layers of privacy protection. Additionally, the recordings are available for review by the user who can delete them at any time, so there would be no data for the property owner to access.

So, in the end, this is a matter of trust in Amazon, and there are many people out there who have run out of it. Last summer, Amazon was exposed for not deleting voice interactions users had with Alexa and Echo devices against their promises. Also, the company has admitted that it used human reviewers to help improve its AI. In February, we covered a story about a study that presented Amazon’s Echo as the worst device when it comes to accidental activation.

All that said, tenants may see “Alexa for Residential” as a bad thing, actually excluding the extra-equipped apartments from their new home hunts. Amazon may make it sound awesome for the property owners, and it could be, but there is just so much that has happened in the last couple of years that smutted Amazon’s image.

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