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Alexa – The Ultimate Trojan Horse?

By Mark Power - Podean Founder & CEO

Amazon typically keeps its numbers close its chest.

But exactly how many prime subscribers there are, how many people use Amazon music, how many people watched Jack Ryan… you can try to guess, but they’re not going to disclose this data.

Hence, it was quite a pleasant surprise when during an interview with the Verge (published on Jan 4th) Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Devices and Services at Amazon, revealed that more than 100 million Alexa pre-installed devices are now in the hands of the public. He didn’t get into specifics, but that number alone is huge, particularly as it skews heavily to the US and many of these devices (whether an Echo or a fridge) are often used by more than one person in the household. That’s a lot of people and access is estimated to exceed one-third of the US population, which equates to a LOT of buying power – in the many trillions.

Alexa is one of the most genius moves by Amazon, and while it may seem that everything Amazon touches turns to gold, that has not always been the case (remember the Fire Phone? No, not the Samsung Galaxy Note devices that burst into flames; the Amazon phones that are likely still filling warehouses somewhere).


And why is Alexa such a big deal?


It’s probably the closest any company has come to understanding everything about a consumer’s intent in a verified and not inferred way.


Exemplifying that notion, Alexa (and Google Home for that matter) were key focuses of CES this year, and the number of manufacturers showcasing their integrations was extensive. At least 34 companies in fact: ADT, Archos, Cavalier, Daikin, D-Link, DUX, GE, Gourmia, Ikea, iOttie, Jabra, JBL, Juno AI, Klipsch, Kohler, Lametric, Lenovo, Leviton, Lockley, Moen, nVent, Panasonic, Petcube, Razer, Ring (owned by Amazon), Roland, Samsung, Schlage, Sony, Temi, TP-Link, Vuzic, Whirlpool (and I may have missed a few).


So even if we look at only these manufacturers and products, what information could Alexa glean that would add even more verified and detailed information to the thorough profile Amazon already has on customers and their buying behavior?

The answer is that this information benefits clients well beyond those who simply sell products on Amazon – it’s so powerful for non-endemic brands and services that don’t normally include Amazon at the top of their list of advertising partners.
 

What could we discover?
 

When I leave home, when I arrive home, when I’m on holiday - very useful information for home security, travel companies, transport companies.
 

What I’m cooking/eating – complementary appliances, food brands, wine pairing.
 

What appliances I’m using, how frequently – CPG brands for complementary products (think of fridge water filters, dishwashing tablets).
 

What content I’m watching and web pages I’m accessing on my TV – multitude of brands that no longer need to rely on computer browsers and smartphones as the sole sources of web data.
 

My pet’s behavior – food brands, accessories such as leashes, dog walking services.
 

My bathroom and shower habits – CPG (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.), utility companies.
 

And the list goes on…

Don’t forget that on top of these integrations launched at CES, there are reportedly 4,500 skills created/released by brands specifically and available in the store (as opposed to 70,000 skills in total). Some of the most popular being transport and food delivery-related, which also reveal a huge amount about us, not to mention some like Zyrtec that know when we have an allergy!


Is all of this information available today and at the touch of a fingertip? No, it’s not, but every week there are new integrations and data sources being appended by Amazon. It’s likely that the advertising integration folks just can’t keep up with the pace of their product development and partnership brethren.


But have no doubt, a lot is already available to take advantage of and so few brands are.
Is your brand prepared to take advantage of all the opportunities that voice will present? Podean is perfectly equipped to help you navigate now and into the future.

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