Amazon is Infiltrating the Property Market with the Alexa for Residential Scheme

Even residents without an Amazon account will be able to live it up in a smart home

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Amazon’s new Alexa for Residential Scheme gives renters the opportunity to live in a voice-controlled smart home without buying their own Alexa-controlled device or even setting up an Amazon account.

In response to statistics provided by the National Apartment Association which said 84% of renters want an apartment with smart home amenities and 64% would pay extra for the service, Amazon introduced the new scheme which will make it “easy for property managers to set up and manage Alexa-powered smart home experiences throughout their buildings.”

“Our vision was to create a service that makes having an Alexa-enabled home accessible for anyone, regardless of whether they rent or own their home,” said Liron Torres, Head of Smart Properties, Amazon Alexa in the statement announcing the new scheme. “Alexa for Residential goes beyond the smart home—it also enables property managers to provide custom voice experiences for their residents, including information about property amenities and custom services.”

The scheme is first being rolled out in partnership with IOTAS, STRATIS IoT, and Sentient Property Services.

Alexa for Residential is designed to help property managers keep up with the demand for smart home appliances easily and efficiently. Whereas before, property managers would have to install and reset every Alexa device individually in each home, they will now be able to do everything remotely.

If you’re like me, you’ll be worried about the myriad privacy concerns that come with this new scheme. But Amazon persists privacy and security are their top priority. “Property managers do not have access to any customer data, and voice recordings are automatically deleted daily,” reads the announcement. “If a customer links their personal Amazon account, they will have full control of their privacy settings as if the device was their own, and their preferred privacy settings will be automatically applied.” It will also be possible for residents to unlink their account at any time, and all in-unit devices can be reset along with the rest of the smart home devices at move-out. Plus, it’s completely possible for residents to link their own Amazon account to the device if they have one.

This scheme will allow renters to, “ask Alexa to remind them when it’s recycling day, play the news and weather every morning, or control their apartment’s smart home features—just by asking,” and will help property managers navigate the pandemic by offering self-guided tours and answer common questions.

It all seems pretty handy. I wonder what could go wrong.