Enter the smart home of the future, one that works a little harder for you | Jobs Reply

Marja Koopmans’ home has been a Seattle street for more than 100 years, dating back to when lumber, coal, and shipyards, rather than software, powered the local economy. But her house is not a museum. Walk inside and it feels like the future – a future you can live in today.

As the Director of Health and Smart Home at Amazon, it is no surprise that Koopmans lives in a smart home, where devices as different as plugs, lights, vacuum cleaners, thermostats and TVs talk to each other, perform tasks and tasks, and make life easier and more efficient for their owners. “The smart home is a home that works for you,” said Koopmans, who spends his days at Amazon putting together the building blocks for the future of the smart home. “That’s the bottom line for me.”

Biocard for Marja Koopmans, director of Health and Smart Home at Amazon.

And work it does. The lights turn on when Koopmans and her family wake up and turn off when they knock in, a fan waits to draw power from a smart plug to life in time for her yoga routine, a Ring camera keeps track of a pet rabbit that’s aging, and Koopmans. she talks to her television while trying to watch a new episode of it The Rings of Power. When the Koopmans leave, smart locks secure the house, and a robot vacuums the place, picking their lab-shed black hair on the blonde streaks of the wooden floor.

All the systems and devices work together by Alexa, the AI ​​voice assistant developed by Amazon; Echo, the company’s smart speaker; and eero, its wireless mesh Wi-Fi technology.

Alexa is the driving force behind the growth of ambient intelligence, the concept that “technology is working for you when you need it, but it’s in the background when you’re not,” says Koopmans. “A home is like a device with lots of different devices inside. What we’re doing now is we’re stitching it all together so technology can do things for you without you having to tell it. It will make sense that everyone has gone to bed, so let’s turn off the lights.

It could be magic, but it is not magic

The smart home brings to mind Arthur C. Clarke’s claim that “any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.” But its building blocks are here today. There are already over 140,000 devices that are compatible with Alexa. More than 300 million smart home devices are now connected to Alexa, and Alexa is used to control smart home devices hundreds of millions of times each week, according to Amazon data.

This week, Amazon announced additions to this bounty at the annual festival Devices & Services fall launch event in Seattle, including a contactless sleep tracker, Halo Rise, and upgrades to Fire TV, Echo smart speakers, and Astro the home robot, among other technology. Halo Rise, for example, combines a sleep tracker with a smart alarm and wake-up light. It uses algorithms running in the background to analyze sleep and provides users with insights to adjust the environment, such as lowering the room temperature, to improve sleep quality. The new Fire TV Ambient Experience it uses the power of Alexa to enable you to view helpful information, manage your smart home, listen to or discover new content, and view artwork or family photos on your Fire TV. The largest number of new eero products, features and services ever, announced at the launch event, reinforces that fast, reliable Wi-Fi is at the heart of any smart home.

“Perpetual beta user”

Koopmans said many new homeowners have come expecting a home that is as smart as their own. “The bar is being set, and the smart home is now the expectation,” she said. “I have a hundred years old at home, and slowly but surely, we are getting there too.”

That’s an understatement. Koopmans, Amazon’s smart home leader, calls herself a “perpetual beta user.” Her home has been turned into a smart home laboratory, where she uses many of Amazon’s latest prototypes. “I believe that’s the only way you can really understand your customer,” said Koopmans. “I can’t talk about a product if I don’t experience it. I want to go through it. I want to help our product and engineering teams do better for customers, as we always can.” She encourages her team members to do the same.

One such prototype Koopmans tested once was the Amazon Smart Plug. Now available for sale, the Alexa-connected plug allows users to control lights and devices with their voice, turn them on and off automatically, or manage them remotely when they’re away. “When I come downstairs in December, when the Christmas tree is up, I say ‘good morning’ to Alexa and the tree lights turn on,” said Koopmans. “It’s just such a delightful moment. I don’t have to crawl behind the tree and turn it on. Those are the little moments we’re looking for and we want to bottle and share with our customers.”

Supercharging the smart home with an expanded option

A collage image of photos of several Amazon devices.

When Koopmans climbed aboard at Amazon seven years ago, she joined a team building the company’s voice technology and paving the way for the smart home. “When we started with Alexa and Echo, people were playing with it and they said, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to turn off your lights with your voice?” she recalls. “That was a huge milestone.”

Customer feedback was positive, and the smart home team began looking for new opportunities and imagining what else customers could do with voice in their homes. “When you start a project at Amazon, you look at the signs coming in, and customers loved it,” Koopmans said. “The acceleration that was happening, the sales that were increasing with new products coming in – the technology was ready for the smart home. That’s when it started to take off.”

The signal was so strong, in fact, that Amazon’s engineers realized they had to bring in partners and scale quickly—after all, choice is a central aspect of Amazon’s customer focus. They open sourced their smart home technology, enabling device makers to build using protocols that work for their businesses. This has attracted many companies and brands to create and build Alexa-compatible devices. And for those developers who don’t want to build all the technology themselves, Amazon also built the Alexa Connect Kit to help them get to market quickly.

Amazon also helped found Matter, the smart home standard in development that aims to make smart home devices of all kinds work together, whether they’re in an Alexa smart home or not. “If we were only controlling and building our own smart home products, I think we wouldn’t be able to deliver on the smart home promise the way we do now,” said Koopmans. “It’s not an easy job, stitching together all these different experiences with all these different devices and brands, but we think that’s what’s best for customers, and that’s why we do the hard work. We offer deliver more value to customers faster than going it alone.”

According to Mariana Zamoszczyk, principal analyst for Smart Home Services at the research firm Omdia, the idea that partners and developers could build with Alexa to improve the customer experience was not. She said that “the diversity of partners and products is the foundation of the positive impacts that smart home devices have on people’s lives.”

All the innovation and construction has supercharged the smart home. The smart devices connected to Alexa now include a smart shower that users can control with their voice, smart dumbbells, smart ovens and refrigerators, smart security systems, and many other technologies. Amazon is testing them in its Smart Home Lab, an airy and bright loft atop its Day 1 skyline in Seattle.

A smart home is more sustainable and accessible, too

Apart from convenience, Koopmans is motivated to make the smart home more accessible and sustainable. Specifically with Amazon’s Smart Thermostat, if Alexa senses you’re home, away or asleep, it can adjust the temperature in the room accordingly. Soon, it will add another clever trick: changing the set temperature to limit use when your neighborhood’s electricity might be less clean. “We cannot consume endlessly, and smart homes can help you reduce that consumption,” said Koopmans. “A smart home can help you optimize energy at the right time of day. It can lower the temperature when you’re not there.”

Alexa-powered smart devices can help make life easier for people with disabilities, and Amazon has built more ways to interact with Alexa as well. Tap to Alexa, now available on Fire Tablets, lets you interact with Alexa using touch instead of voice. However you do it, Koopmans said customers can tell Alexa to open or lock a door, operate an oven, turn on the lights, or get medication reminders. “I have seen firsthand how much of an impact this technology has had on people with accessibility challenges,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do, but we are on the right track.”

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