Amazon “smart” home plan has been given a shot in the arm thanks to a new $55 million [£33 million] investment and a boost in staffing levels that mean almost 1,000 new workers.
A government document found by Reuters (opens in new tab) reports that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plans to inject the capital into its A2Z Development Centre that encompasses the Lab126 unit that is responsible for the Amazon Fire smartphone and Kindle line of devices.
The very same Lab126 is testing connected home devices, according to two people familiar with its plans, and the full-time jobs will boost its payroll by 798 jobs to 3,757 by 2019 as well as providing $1.2 million [£730,000] in tax breaks.
When it comes to the “smart” devices, the main innovation is a simple Wi-Fi device that can be put anywhere and allow customers to order products by pressing a button. One practical example could be to have it in the kitchen and detergent to be ordered when it runs out.
Lab126 is also interested in developing wearable devices alongside this though both sources that spoke to Reuters stated that it’s currently unclear whether those devices will make it to market.
"We will continue to invent and create new features, services and products, and to support this innovation. Lab 126 is also growing very quickly," stated Amazon spokeswoman Kinley Pearsall.
Investing in smart products would put it on course to compete with both Google and Apple, both of which are investing heavily in the smart home sector that is part of an Internet of Things market that is expected to be worth billions.
Noises coming out of Amazon point to products that are focused on shopping and to keep pace with its competitors we can expect to hear something more concrete in the coming six to 12 months.