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Amazon is buying iRobot – this is probably why

Amazon is building towards its own, fully-functional smart home platform.

amazon logo and echo device
Image: KnowTechie

Late last week, news came out that Amazon was purchasing iRobot for a cool $1.7 billion. While Amazon is probably happy to have the Roomba company in its portfolio, the real reason for the purchase is likely something else.

What’s probably more appealing to Amazon than iRobot’s vacuum cleaners is the amount of data that comes with the company.

iRobot has been sending Roombas around customers’ homes for years, all the while learning the homes’ shapes and layouts.

When you set up a robot vacuum cleaner, the device typically does an initial sweep of your home to learn its layout. Then, every time the machine runs to clean your floors, it continues to learn more about your home.

It detects objects, it knows when you change a room’s layout, and even knows which room is which. That kind of data will be invaluable to Amazon, whose next goal is to develop its smart home network.

Amazon will leverage iRobot’s data for its smart home goals

Image: iRobot

See, Amazon has been working hard at gathering its own data on your home. Echo devices are constantly learning through practice.

Amazon’s home security subsidiary, Ring, also gathers as much data as possible from its stationary position.

But nothing that Amazon currently owns gathers the kind of data that iRobot is able to gather. The basic function of iRobot’s products is to navigate every inch of your home to help maintain clean floors.

Over time, it has stored that data to continue to provide an improved experience to customers.

Amazon has previously introduced its own mapping gadgets to try and gather this kind of home data from consumers. The company revealed its Astro Home Robot back in October.

The unique robotic assistant looks like something out of a sci-fi film but offers pretty limited function. And there’s no firm release date for the robot.

Now that Amazon has purchased iRobot, it doesn’t need to worry about establishing its own mapping technology. It can just use the tech developed by iRobot, along with the years of data that the company has already gathered.

Amazon’s end goal is to develop a full line of smart home devices, all interconnected and working together. And it’s well on its way with its Alexa platform, Ring cameras, and now iRobot.

Amazon has already drastically changed the way that we shop. And now it looks like the company has its eyes on changing our home lives next. The recent iRobot purchase is a major step in that direction for Amazon.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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