Alexa-powered smart homes coming to Charleston soon

Amazon and Lennar are partnering to put smart home tech into thousands of new homes, starting with model ones

It won’t be long before Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated artificial intelligence assistant comes pre-programmed into new Charleston homes.

On Wednesday, Amazon and Lennar announced they were partnering on a new series of model homes around the U.S. filled with Amazon’s smart devices, where customers can come and see how the technology works in a living space. Even more important: Lennar says it will begin building all of its new homes with “built-in Wi-Fi, smart locks, doorbells, thermostats and lights — all controlled by Alexa,” according to USA Today. That means 35,000 new smart homes by the end of the year.

The model homes, by contrast, which the company dubbed “Amazon Experience Centers,” will come installed with Alexa-enabled smart speakers, as well as Echo Show and Echo Dot devices. By connecting the devices to various appliances in the home, the speakers will control things like the lights, television sets, thermostats, doorbells and shades, providing a full Amazon-powered smart home experience.

“We wanted customers to experience a real home environment that showcases the convenience of the Alexa smart home experience, great entertainment available with Prime, and Home Services,” said Nish Lathia, general manager of Amazon Services, in a press release.

“We are excited to extend our relationship with Lennar with the launch of Amazon Experience Centers. As one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, Lennar offers the potential to enable this experience within easy driving distance of millions of customers.”

The partnership comes as part of Amazon’s larger leap into the real estate realm — over the last year, Amazon acquired smart doorbell company Ring, tested a real estate referral service and was rumored to consider going into mortgage lending.

“Amazon’s ability to bring a home to life with Alexa smart home experiences, entertainment and services — coupled with their obsession with customer experience — is a natural extension of our Everything’s Included approach to homebuilding,” said David Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures, in a statement.

According to Amazon, the model homes will be available in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., while opening in Charleston, SC later on. You can find location and touring information on this page by scrolling to the bottom.

Article by Veronika Bondarenko

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