Online retailer Amazon has announced its intent to acquire video-based doorbell product provider Ring for a reported sum of $1 billion. The obvious question is why Amazon would be willing to invest such a considerable sum in a doorbell provider. The likely answer has a lot to do with the next iterations of online last-mile customer fulfillment along with the leveraging of Internet of Things enabled home and apartment devices.
With just about all-things related to Amazon, acquisitions are a means toward a strategic objective. Amazon’s prior $13.5 billion acquisition of Whole Foods was a means for Amazon to gain direct entry into the grocery retail sector. That included a means to dramatically amplify the presence of Amazon’s physical brick and mortar and food distribution presence, along with access to lines of private-label based natural food or branded food products that can marketed and distributed online.
Our initial-take on the Ring acquisition relates to added direct entry into the Internet of Things (IoT) enabled Smart Home market sector, and initially, the added ability to provide another means for combating package theft. With Ring, Amazon can leverage the capability of home and apartment dwellers to view, hear or speak with delivery persons, in addition to unwanted visitors. The IoT aspects allow further leverage of Amazon’s Echo smart shopper and home companion functionality- namely the ability to alert-to, enable and incorporate broader elements of personal security by voice command.
Last fall, Amazon introduced Amazon Cloud Cam and Amazon Key, a process that would reportedly allow deliver persons the ability to enter a home via a keycode in order to deliver a parcel more securely. The online retailer has further initiated the Amazon Photo on Delivery program, providing the ability of delivery persons to take actual photos of where certain categorized packages were deposited on a customer’s delivery location, with the photo image provided as proof of delivery.
In December, the online retailer acquired another smart doorbell provider, Blick. Add the Ring acquisition and a pattern of strategic actions begins to be clearly evident.
Similar to Amazon’s eventual implementation of its own managed parcel logistics and transportation capability for Amazon Prime members, the initiatives came in a series of specific actions including the acquisition of certain technology enablement providers.
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