How Apple's Smart Home Strategy Is Greatly Challenged By Amazon Echo's Widening Lead In Smart Household Market [VIDEO]

2 February 2017, 7:03 am EST By Pia Merci Mobile & Apps
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Apple's Smart Home strategy has been threatened by Amazon's combination of the Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant and the Echo speaker system.

Amazon's Alexa-Powered Echo Speaker

Amazon has definitely delivered well on their promise of easy-to-use technology, enabling its users to control home gadgets by using natural language voice commands. This is especially with the help of its Alexa powered Echo speaker system.

Amazon's success reportedly challenges Apple and Google's Alphabet for the top spot on the market for household connection. This close competition is apparently following the typical dynamic in of the tech industry.

As per Fortune, Amazon has chosen to go with an open-system approach. With this strategy, it allows quick development of multiple features. But for Apple, they have reportedly chosen a slower approach wherein control maintenance over the technology is the sole focus to assure ease-of-use and security.

Additionally, Amazon's "connected home" niche is to  own its customer interactions, especially shopping online, without an Apple phone or Google Web browser as a channel. On the other hand, Apple struggles to keep the iPhone at the center of customer's lives by building the HomeKit whole automation architecture into its smartphone.

More importantly, smart household gadgets that are currently certified to work with Alexa are around 250 devices. ForApple, it has only around 100 certified devices.

How Apple Tries To Maintain Control

Gadget makers must reportedly integrate special chops to work with Apple's system for it to become HomeKit-certified. Apple requires its developers as well to buy particular Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networking chips that reportedly usually cost more than its competitor's products. More so, these devices supposedly have to be manufactured in Apple-certified special facilities.

Another requirement that Apple imposes is that manufacturers have to send product samples to Cupertino for them to be extensively tested by Apple for compatibility. It can take three to five months for this whole certification process to complete. Simultaneously, device makers are not permitted to publiclt claim that they are pursuing HomeKit certification during the certification process.

 Open Approach Pursued By Amazon

Unlike Apple, Amazon's Alexa only requires smart home companies to submit their developed software codes to Amazon for reviewing. Considering that this is only a software review and there are no special chips need to be tested for compatibility, this process is way faster and simpler. Those companies that would want to promote their products on Amazon's website are the ones who need to earn the "Works with Alexa" label.

Startups must note that in order for them to get the "Works with Alexa" label, they must have their products physically tested, which can only be done in a third-party lab. Will Apple's slow-to-develop system be able to overcome Amazon's widening lead?

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