By now you’ve no doubt heard about the acquisition of Ring by Amazon. The $1 billion-plus acquisition is the biggest smart home deal since Google acquired Nest back in early 2014.
While most of the articles about this deal focused Amazon’s entry into the home security market, I think that was a secondary motivation for the company. Sure, monthly recurring revenue from millions of potential home security customers is a nice-to-have, but Amazon’s moves in the smart home almost always revolve around how they can strengthen their core business: selling lots of stuff to consumers.
With that in mind, here’s my analysis of what Amazon/Nest means for the company’s home delivery efforts, it’s food business and where the company might go next:
Amazon/Ring Bolsters Amazon’s Unattended Access Plans
Back in October, Amazon announced Amazon Key. With Key, Amazon utilizes a smart lock and an internal camera to enable in-home delivery of packages. It was Amazon’s first move into unattended access, an idea first pioneered by August (now owned by Assa Abloy) and one of increasing focus for Walmart.
With Ring, Key likely just got a lot better. Amazon will now own the dominant video doorbell company, giving it the ability to see who is at the door of potentially millions of home. They’ll also now have access to the Ring home security technology, which gives them a suite of sensors to understand better what’s going on in the home.
In short, the company now has a complete platform to accelerate in-home delivery of all kinds of products, starting with…
Grocery Delivery Just Got A Boost
While Amazon Key’s early focus has been on packages, much of the focus in the future will be on groceries. Amazon has been integrating Amazon Fresh with its Whole Food operations and this month they’ve launched home delivery from Whole Foods in select markets. As home grocery delivery business becomes a bigger focus for the company, the Ring platform will help reduce friction around front door access and entry and could help enable true store-to-fridge delivery.
Restaurant Food On The Table Before You Even Know It
While grocery is an obvious one, there’s a good chance this news could impact how Amazon’s Restaurant delivery service works. Earlier this week I wrote about a new patent Amazon has been awarded for predictive restaurant ordering, a technology that could enable Amazon to order food and have it to your door right about the time you’re getting hungry.
And so if Amazon is bold enough to order your food for you, why wouldn’t they just bring it into the home? With predictive restaurant ordering, it’s not hard to imagine coming home and having Thai food or pizza from your local restaurant sitting on the dinner table.
In short, the technical underpinnings are in place for Amazon to create a “meal when you get home” service for customers that combines restaurant delivery, groceries and more.
Could A Fridge Cam Acquisition Be Next?
In just the last couple months, Amazon’s acquired two connected camera companies. In December they bought Blink, a connected doorbell company, and now Ring.
These deals follow the launch of multiple connected camera products in 2017, including a fashion cam, the Key cam, as well as the embedded cam on the Echo Show.
So where will Amazon go next? My guess is inside the fridge. Which leads me to believe the company will likely launch their own or acquire a company like Smarter which has a connected fridge cam product.
While this is pure speculation, I think such a deal makes lots of sense. Amazon has shown a clear interest in what’s going on inside the fridge, applying for patents to detect produce freshness.
Why wouldn’t they want to monitor the inside using a connected camera as well?
In many ways, Jamie Siminoff reminds me of Jeff Bezos; extremely aggressive, win-at-all-costs. You can listen to my conversation with Jamie for an episode of the Smart Home Show below.