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CNet has an interesting idea for Amazon and, by extension, other purveyors of technologies that are designed to populate the "smart home."

"Despite all the new products from Amazon and the reworked smart home platform from Google,," CNet writes, "2019 ultimately felt like an iterative year. Everything was improved, but no major new concepts were introduced. We've had voice assistants since 2011, smart speakers since 2014, smart displays since 2015 and smart home integration since long before all of those. So what's the next big invention? Augmented or virtual reality? A voice-driven application environment?"

CNet's conclusion - smart home technology companies need to become more like Netflix.  Instead of selling them the next speaker or other piece of hardware, Amazon (and other companies) could sell people smart home subscriptions.

Here's how it would work:  "A $15-a-month fee, which is a dollar cheaper than Netflix's premium plan, could easily help people start to fill their houses with smart home gear. Make it an Amazon Prime add-on that comes with a free Echo Dot or smart light bulb and customers battling the monotony of quarantine would likely give it a try. Within a year, with $180 down and brief installations once a month, average people could have a drastically different home experience.

"The experience could even be personalized. In the same way meal delivery services let you choose from a limited menu each week or month, smart home subscribers could select more, say, security-oriented devices for the first few months, before switching to lighting or cooking devices."

CNet goes on:  "A subscription-based smart home market could be great for the industry -- leading to more competitive pricing and more customer interest in what can seem like an inaccessible set of products. In a retail category full of hard-to-understand devices, a service like this could slowly introduce new products based on customer interests, all of which are guaranteed to work with their Amazon Echo speaker."

And here's the rationale:  "The subscription model has been uniquely disruptive in the entertainment industry, but it's also proved lucrative in plenty of other retail spaces of late -- fueling dozens, if not hundreds, of popular clothing, food and toy brands. These companies allow customers to try new products for reasonable prices, cutting out much of the time typically associated with research, shopping and ultimately making difficult decisions. In fact, in the niche smart home market -- where buying a simple light bulb can lead down rabbit hole articles on color temperature and wattage, ecosystem compatibility and voice control -- a subscription box model seems to make a lot of sense."

KC's View:

I have to say, I love this … it provides an entry point for many people who would like to invest in this kind of technology, but quite frankly don't know where to start or how to invest intelligently.  And for Amazon - or anyone else - it would be about the creation and deepening of relationships, not just selling stuff.

Which is what subscription services and auto-replenishment are all about.