With its purchase of iRobot, Amazon will now have even more access to your home.
Today, Amazon announced its $1.7-billion purchase of iRobot Corp. the maker of Roomba vacuums. As part of the purchase, Amazon acquired a mapping company that tracks the layout of your house.
So Amazon will now make money from each vacuum purchase, but the real value resides in the mapping data.
Amazon is on the track of creating a “smart home,” buying many companies and technologies that produce devices for your home. Its Echo has sold an estimated 9.9 million units sold in the three months through March, according to the analysis firm Strategy Analytics. In 2018, it purchased the video doorbell-maker Ring for $1 billion and the wi-fi company Eero a year later.
iRobot’s most recent products include a technology it calls Smart Maps, though customers can opt out of sharing the data. The maps also represent a wealth of data for marketers although Amazon said in a statement that protecting customer data is “incredibly important.”
These maps give marketers a wide variety of information. The size of your house is a pretty good proxy for your wealth. A floor covered in toys means you likely have kids. An empty house is a one to which you can try to sell more furniture.
Amazon is not the only one wanting to map your home. In June, Apple Inc. unveiled a tool for the next release of iOS, its mobile operating system, that uses the laser scanner on the latest iPhones to build 3-D models that it refers to as RoomPlan.
Amazon seems to be covering all its bases. Amazon’s 2017 deal for Whole Foods gave it insights into the grocery industry. The $3.5-billion deal announced for One Medical Ltd. last month provides a wealth of health-care data. Now iRobot can give Amazon a sense of what’s in your home, reports Bloomberg.