There is more to Amazon.com, Inc’s AMZN acquisition of Roomba-maker iRobot Corporation IRBT in a $1.7 billion deal than meets the eye.
What Happened: The robot vacuum cleaner company reportedly has reserves of knowledge about floor plans of homes and changes made by people to their interiors.
On the latest model of the Roomba, the J7, iRobot affixed a front-facing artificial intelligence-powered camera that has detected more than 43 million objects in people’s homes, according to the company’s CEO Colin Angle, reported The Verge.
Other Roomba models sport low-resolution cameras that are pointed upwards and use the ceiling for navigation, as per the report.
See Also: How To Buy Amazon (AMZN) Shares
Why It Matters: With iRobot's addition, Amazon now has Alexa, home security-focused Ring, budget camera firm Blink and mesh Wi-Fi brand Eero under its umbrella, effectively allowing the e-commerce giant to mine data from a smart home without any user input.
The director of Amazon’s Alex smart home, Marja Koopmans, said the company believes in “ambient intelligence — an environment where your devices are woven together by AI so they can offer far more than any device could do on its own,” according to the Verge.
The trove of data with iRobot is equivalent to “digital gold," as per the report, as the iRobot OS provides context and the ability to share data with other devices via the cloud.
Amazon’s own home bot, Astro, reportedly has mapping capabilities and can ascertain some objects in a room, but has limited functionality and no specified release date.
Ring, Amazon’s smart doorbell unit, also has a flying indoor camera that can record objects.
Ring’s data sharing with law enforcement has recently raised concerns, which led Amazon to tweak how such agencies request data.
Price Action: On Friday, Amazon shares closed 1.2% lower at $140.80 in the regular session and fell 0.1% in extended trading, according to data from Benzinga Pro.
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