Prioritizing compatibility and quality testing for smart-home devices, regardless of the manufacturer, is critical in ensuring that developers can deliver trusted and predictable smart home customer experiences. Molly Levin, the head of the Alexa Smart Home Certifications program, is helping a wide variety of developers to deliver the next-generation of ambient experiences, and grow successful businesses with Alexa.
What products are you responsible for?
I oversee the Alexa Smart Home Certifications program. My team is focused on Works with Alexa (WWA), which is a certification that establishes a product’s compatibility and quality experience with Alexa. WWA is a quality program designed for our developers.
A big part of my role is focused on making sure that the WWA certification keeps up with the latest programs and innovations. For example, last year we introduced a new WWA requirement for devices that support our Smart Reorders feature. This service helps make sure that customers don’t run out of critical consumables such as device battery or ink cartridges, by enabling Alexa to reorder items with their permission, or notifying customers when they are running low. We guide developers through the smart reordering qualification and setup process.
One interesting project that my team worked on is developing the WWA program for Matter devices. We believe that even as Matter launches, the WWA certification will still be important as a sign of both product quality and tested interoperability with Alexa.
How does the WWA program benefit developers and customers?
WWA was designed help developers deliver high-quality products and give customers the confidence that Alexa has signed off on the quality of the product. Our “sign off” is indicated by a badge on the product's detail page and packaging.
The program has been incredibly successful for our developers – since 2020, Works with Alexa device makers have certified over thirty thousand devices, selling over 125M devices word-wide. We know developers invest significant resources into their devices, services, and integrations with Alexa. Amazon also helps developers grow their business by increasing exposure for WWA products to the customers who shop on Amazon.com every day. Works with Alexa certification also creates additional co-marketing opportunities, such as bundles, promotions on Prime Day and pop-ups.
We also want to make sure customers on Amazon.com can easily find smart home devices that have been tested and work great with Alexa. Works With Alexa raises the bar on quality, reliability, and functionality to ensure that customers are able to find the devices that provide them the best experience with Alexa.
What are you excited about when it comes to the future of the ambient smart home?
Our vision has always been to help customers seamlessly unify all the smart devices in their homes, creating a cohesive experience. We want to create an experience where customers don't have to continually be involved in device setup and management, because they just work together and communicate with one another seamlessly.
Our customers are diverse, so we need to factor in diverse perspectives to build the best products available. When I think about ambient smart homes, I think about inclusion and accessibility. I support diversity and inclusion at Amazon through various ways including serving as the Smart Home and the Halo Health DEI champion. I also held a director seat on the board of the Seattle Families Affinity group in 2022.
Outside of these roles, as a new mom seeking connection with other parents, I brought together a community of 2000 parents across Amazon, to share learning, product recommendations, challenges, and of course celebrations with one another, finding common ground in our new role as parents. Each of these experiences have provided inspiration as I think about how ambient smart homes will evolve and how the WWA program can help our developers build the highest quality and most inclusive products on the market. This is what I am most excited about.