Alexa for Residental Helps Landlords Offer “Smart Apartments”

An Amazon Fire TV, surrounded by an Ecobee and smart lights in an apartment setting.
Alexa

Smart homes aren’t just for people who own houses. Thanks to the ease of smart bulbs, plugs, and other devices that don’t require installs, many apartments are smart. But you can’t always install everything like thermostats or locks. Alexa for Residental aims to change that somewhat by having the landlord do the work before you move in.

The idea is fairly straightforward at first glance. Using Alexa for Residental, a landlord can install Alexa speakers, smart lights, thermostats, locks, plugs, or whatever else they prefer. Then they can do a “pre-setup” process for you.

This process will connect the devices up to Echo devices and even provide Wi-Fi access if the apartment comes with internet access. If the landlord wants, they can enable skills and create custom commands like answering a question about pool hours.

When you arrive, all you have to do is sign into the Echo device with your Amazon account, and everything is set for you to control. You can use the Echo device like it’s yours, from controlling your smart apartment to playing music.

If you decide to move, you leave everything behind and log out of your account. If you forget, that’s OK: Your landlord can wipe your accounts from the devices and get everything back into the pre-setup mode. They can even change everything over to a demo mode to do apartment tours.

Of course, all of this sounds great but raises certain privacy concerns. And Amazon only answered a few of those questions. According to Amazon, your landlord doesn’t have access to your voice recordings, which is good to see. But what isn’t clear is if the landlord has any other access to data.

Can they see when you unlock the door? Can they adjust your thermostat? Can they disable Alexa Guard? Amazon doesn’t say in its official documentation.

Which leaves you with a choice if you do rent an apartment (or other space) with Alexa for Residential: whether or not to log in with your account at all.

Source: Amazon

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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