Eero is popular thanks to its smart mesh routers, which make setting up and connecting devices to your WiFi easy. But Amazon isn’t just buying Eero because of its sales. By owning Eero, Amazon will also get more data at the network level as to how consumers are using their internet-connected devices. Is your Roku gobbling up most of your data usage? Why don’t you check out an Amazon Prime Video free trial! And as my former colleague, Stacey Higginbotham of the Internet of Things Podcast pointed out, the opposite is true as well. Amazon can see which devices are inefficient, then build its own, ideally better, solutions.
The Eero system creates a mesh network by deploying small hardware beacons around your home. Kinda like how you can put multiple Echos throughout your house. The goal of Alexa has always been to replicate the ubiquitous “computer” from Star Trek–an invisible presence that responds to your vocal commands. Seems like adding Alexa functionality to the beacons is probably in the cards to work towards that ubiquity.
The Eero purchase also makes sense when you think about the press conference Amazon held back in November, where it launched “Frustration Free Setup.” Part of that mission was WiFi Simple Setup. As The Verge wrote then:
Now, compatible devices will be able to access the Wi-Fi credentials stored on your Amazon products so that they can automatically connect to the internet within seconds of being plugged in.
Connecting Alexa-powered devices to your Eero-powered network could now be even more vertically integrated, not to mention making Amazon-brand appliances like the Alexa microwave easier to install. If Amazon builds more connected appliances (fridges, dishwashers, countertop ovens, etc.), it could make installation that much easier and even direct Eero owners towards buying them (Amazon noticed you don’t have a fridge connected to the internet, you should totally buy this Amazon-brand one). This of course, would create more lock-in for Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem (good for Amazon, bad for consumers).
Of course, maybe your Amazon house will come with Eero already built in as well.
But the acquisition just happened today, and these are just the standard hot takes and speculation. However, as my other former colleague, Janko Roettgers of Variety pointed out on Twitter:
Damn. Two of the biggest consumer mesh router product lines are now being made by Amazon and Google. https://t.co/nxDfDkjwSw
— Janko Roettgers (@jank0) February 11, 2019
It’s old hat at this point to say this, but we are handing over not just more, but deeper data about our behaviors to big companies in the name of convenience. Most of us seem fine with that, so don’t expect these types of acquisitions from the big tech companies to stop.