The Amazon TV rumor mill is heating up again, with Re/Code reporting that the company is preparing for a March launch of their long-awaited TV box.
While most are rightly focused on how the new set-top will compare to Apple TV and Roku, I’d suggest that there’s a chance it might also have smart home control features built in as well.
Imagine an Amazon-centric smart home platform like Staples Connect or Lowe’s Iris, where the company’s new TV box acts as a control hub for everything from smart thermostats to LED lighting to that Dropcam network camera by the front door.
Why would Amazon want to also make a smart home push? My feeling is that unlike the TV business, Amazon isn’t late to the game in ‘smart home’ relative to Apple or Google. If smart home were a baseball game, we’re probably in the second inning.
I also believe it’s a market that is a much better fit for Amazon’s core commerce business. Sure,the company sells lots of digital content, but unlike video, there are no massive and complicated licensing deals and release windows to think about. Imagine an Amazon partner program under which a bunch of third party home system providers are featured prominently on the company’s website and the TV itself. I have a feeling companies like Westinghouse would love to work with Amazon to sell Wi-Fi thermostats, and am pretty sure Amazon would sell billions of dollars in home systems in the coming years.
The last reason I think Amazon might go down this route? The guy quarterbacking the new effort, Malachy Moynihan. Moynihan is a former Linksys executive and pretty familiar with connected home space. According to my sources, there were many times during the past decade that Linksys looked closely at home automation and thought about integrating the technology into their home routers, but eventually felt the market was never quite ready.
Well, with Amazon’s competitors spending $3 billion on a thermostat maker, I’d say the market’s about ready.