Amazon has partnered with home builder Lennar to install its Alexa technology in model homes, creating "Amazon Experience Centers" where people can tour the premises and use simple voice commands to turn on the TV, turn down the lights, play their favorite music on wireless speakers and even do a bit of cleaning.
Model homes built by Lennar and outfitted with the Alexa-activated technology are now open to the public in 15 cities across the country, including Miami, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. More of the homes are in the works.
Why does it matter?
From Amazon's perspective, the new partnership could give it an edge in the booming smart-home market, which is expected to see global sales reach more than $107 billion by 2023. Google and Apple are also competing for smart-home dollars with hundreds of products ranging from smart refrigerators to smart light bulbs.
How could this affect me?
In five years, pretty much everyone will have a digital assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home plugged in somewhere in their home, predicts CNET editor-in-chief Lindsey Turrentine.
"It's an experience. It's more than just a feature," says Jeremy Parness, division president, Lennar California Coastal. "It's anticipating the way we're going to live every day and it will function very intuitively."
Consumers can tour the gadget-laden homes to try out Amazon products without purchasing them, something they can't do online.