Alexa, Build Me a House

Voice-controlled smart homes are now on Amazon’s roadmap, as demand for cheaper prefab houses grows

Stacey Freed
OneZero
Published in
6 min readJan 6, 2020

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Courtesy of Plant Prefab and Burdge Architects

VVincent Paguia’s new house caused quite a spectacle when it arrived in his neighborhood in the beach town of Half Moon Bay, about 25 miles south of San Francisco. It took just three hours and some very heavy machinery to crane all the ready-made modules of his home into place, lifting them off the back of two semis that pulled up in front of his lot. The new 1,300-square-foot family home had been built in sections in the factory and arrived complete with faucets, kitchen appliances, wood floors and shower heads. It’s a fully functioning smart home, equipped with Amazon Echo-controlled lights, Nest-controlled heat, air-conditioning, and five internet-connected Ring security cameras.

Plant Prefab, the company behind Paguia’s new home, is one half of Amazon’s deepest partnership yet with a housing firm. The e-commerce giant had already worked with the regional construction group TRI Pointe, and Lennar, one of the largest home construction companies in the United States, to integrate smart home technologies into new builds. But Amazon went further with Plant Prefab, investing $6.7 million (along with the VC firm Obvious Ventures, which was co-founded by Medium CEO Ev Williams) in 2018 through its Alexa Fund, which…

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Stacey Freed
OneZero
Writer for

My work: Forbes.com; @USATodaymags; @ProBuildermag; @realtormag; @MeredithCorp; HouseLogic.com; Family Dog Mag; Civilized.Life; Find me @Freed2Write.