Fortunejust shared a report, based on claimed exclusive sight of an internal memo, that Amazon is planning a major push into the Internet of things (IoT). According to Fortune, Amazon is unveiling a new cloud IoT service at AWS re:Invent 2015, its Amazon Web Services jamboree already under way in Las Vegas. And InfoWorldconfirms at least the focus, if not the gist. But is that going to impact your core Kindle and ereading experience?
Well, actually it might. For one thing, as other reports elsewhere outline, Amazon is already making a big push into the connected home through hardware like the Amazon Echo speaker, illustrated in this article, which offers “information, music, audiobooks, news, weather, traffic, sports, and more – instantly … Controlled by your voice for hands-free convenience.” That device is already “compatible with select Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink connected devices to control lights and switches with your voice.” And as the Amazon ad indicates, you can call up your audiobooks and listen to them via the Echo, as well as potentially casting your ebook screen to other monitors around the house. And Echo is designed to integrate smoothly with Amazon’s Alexa voice control service, through apps on the Amazon App Store, as well as for Android and iOS.
Does that sound like stretching a point too far, to link Kindle and ereading to IoT? Well, consider this also. Amazon’s own online print book emporium, still a hugely important part of its business, could be immensely facilitated by IoT technology. Delivery for one thing could be hugely enhanced with connected packages that can be electronically addressed and routed. Remember Amazon Prime Air, the drone delivery service in the making. Once all these services are wired together, not only will they make fulfillment faster and more efficient, they’ll also improve Amazon’s data analytics and customer recommendation services even further. At the very least, the ebook side should lever off the same network effect that helps Amazon exercise its control over print book distribution. At the most, your ebook reader could also be what you shout at to order a pizza, restock your fridge, or just turn off your room lights.