Image from email offering free smart home consultations to Prime customers

Back in November, a curious job posting showed up on Amazon’s website for a “home assistant.” The job, which was first flagged by the Seattle Times, sounded more Merry Maid than Geek Squad.

It seemed like an odd direction for Amazon, unless of course it was some way to extend their Alexa dominance. As I wrote back then, “there’s a chance Amazon sees the assistant role as one that will leverage existing in-home technology a creates a home that ‘runs on Amazon.’… Amazon could write off these assistant visits as a ‘truck roll’ investment, one which is paid back through a home fully integrated with Amazon platforms such as Alexa, Dash, commerce, etc.”

And now it looks like I may have been right.

That’s because today I received an email from Amazon offering a free in-home ‘smart home consultation.’ The consultation consisted of a free 45 minute visit from an expert who would evaluate my Wi-Fi signal strength, let me try out smart home products and, of course, test run voice control my home with Alexa.

At the end of the visit, the consultation would create a customized recommendation list of smart home products.

One thing Amazon emphasizes is the expert coming to your home is an Amazon employee. They go on to say each expert has previous technology “experience” and that they have completed over 100 hours of training on products, customer service and “Amazon training.”

Early reviews of the consultations are all pretty good. The earliest reviews for the smart home consultations were in November, but the vast majority have come in the last week, indicating the company is expanding its trial rollout footprint.

The free consultations are currently available in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Orange County and San Jose, California and are being offered to select Amazon Prime customers in those markets.

Why would Amazon do this? That’s easy: they see they have an early lead in the smart home with Alexa and, as I indicated back in November, they can use these consultations to get a consumer to run their home “on Amazon.”

How will Amazon’s move into the smart home and connected home services impact the food and kitchen? Come to the Smart Kitchen Summit to find out. Use the discount code SPOON to get 25% off of tickets

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