With the announcement of a local partnership between the online retail giant, Amazon, and the nation’s largest homebuilder, Lennar, every property manager Aurora employs began to wonder what it means for the community. What has resulted is the Amazon Experience Center, located at 23204 East Piccolo Drive in south Aurora. Open every day of the week, the Experience Center consists of a Lennar model home fitted with all the latest Amazon smart home devices. People are invited to learn first hand how these smart devices function in an actual residence.
According to an Amazon representative, the Alexa-enabled smart home allows customers to use voice commands to control appliances such as the TV, lighting systems, thermostat, automated curtains and more. By partnering with a large homebuilder, the online retailer is able to demonstrate its line of voice recognizing devices in person without having to open brick and mortar locations of its own. Another advantage of the collaboration with Lennar is that it has streamlined the ability to open Experience Centers across the country. There are now 15 such show homes in nine different states.
Every property manager Aurora employs may wonder how this will affect business in the community. If nothing else, it will increase the awareness of so-called smart home devices. Whether they become standard accessories in everyday housing will depend on the balance achieved between tenants and property managers. Certain devices, such as smart locks, could cut down on the number of keys that property managers have to keep track of, while others, such as wifi enabled thermostats, could prevent damage to homes due to excessive heat or cold while the tenants are away.
This isn’t the first foray into real estate that Amazon has announced, but it is its first real estate announcement that has actually produced tangible results. Last year, the online giant tested a feature that would connect homebuyers and sellers with real estate agents. While initially causing quite a rumble in the real estate community, Amazon ultimately removed the feature from their offerings. Amazon had inauspicious beginnings as an online bookseller in 1994, but is now the largest online retailer in the world. It has ever since been continually trying to make a dent in traditional business models. This was most recently evidenced by its purchase of the Whole Foods Market grocery store chain. Whether this new partnership with homebuilder Lennar will radically affect the real estate industry as much as it has the book business remains to be seen.