Meet Rachel Greene: the innovator changing the way we interact with smart-home devices

Staff Writer Mar 17, 2023
Smart Home

To commemorate Women’s History Month, we are showcasing the innovation of four leaders at Amazon, who are helping shape the future of smart home.  For the first edition of this series, we talk to Rachel Greene, senior product manager in Alexa smart home.

Greene's career journey has been marked by innovation and a desire to drive technological innovation to have a real world impact on the lives of people around the world. Greene holds an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Duke University, as well as a master of business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Drawn to Amazon by the opportunity to try new things and have a big impact, she is now leading the charge to help customers enjoy a truly unified smart-home experience.

What are you working on at Amazon?

As a senior product manager, I lead and drive the Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit, a new set of services and features that extend a variety of Alexa capabilities, and with customers’ permission, empowers developers to build a more unified ambient experience together, with Alexa. Using these tools, developers can build on top of Alexa and use the technology that we've already created to differentiate their offerings. This leads to a better user experience for Alexa customers.

Credentials sharing, group sync, and two-way device sync are some of the first features we’re releasing to developers as part of the Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit. These bi-directional cloud-based features are designed to be flexible, allowing developers to maximize their development effort and reach more households and users regardless of their mobile OS or connectivity protocol they use to connect devices to Alexa. 

The credentials sharing feature simplifies the setup of Matter over Thread compatible smart home devices by facilitating the sharing of Thread credentials, with customers’ permissions, between Alexa and developer apps. The feature for group sync enables customers to easily start and manage their smart home without having to manually replicate their groups in multiple apps. Finally, the two-way device sync feature will help developers to better service customers based on device status by synchronizing information such as disablement, enablement, and deletion between Alexa and their apps with the customer’s permission. Over time, as customers create, edit device groups and device status, Alexa will keep these changes synced between Alexa and developer apps.

How does the Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit benefit developers and customers?

As smart homes become populated with devices from many different brands, providing a simple, robust foundation to set up, organize and use those devices will be critical to keeping our customers happy and increase engagement with their smart home devices from the moment they unbox them and for the following years.

To truly enhance the smart home experience, we need to work closely with developers to achieve a unified experience for our customers. None of us can deliver on our customer’s expectations for the ambient smart home alone. This is a collective effort — this is a vision will that only be enabled by all of us working together. By providing these tools to developers, we’re making it easier for developers to use our technology so they can deliver differentiated experiences to customers and grow their businesses. 

What are you excited about when it comes to the future of the ambient smart home?

I am most excited about seeing our vision of providing a smart home that just works, become a reality. Where all smart home devices work seamlessly together, regardless of brand or manufacturer. Increased interoperability provides customers with confidence that the devices they want to purchase will work in their home and the freedom to use their preferred apps and services.

Our vision for the ambient home is a future where your smart home can anticipate and act for you, regardless of whether you're using an app, interacting with one of the devices, or talking to it. It provides a seamless experience regardless of the brand and how you choose to interact with it. The ambient home understands context and is always helpful, but it doesn't feel intrusive. We have many ambient experiences already in homes today with hunches and routines, and although we’re well on our way to get towards that vision, we still see so much more to come in the future. 

Recommended reading

Alexa’s Kabila Williams is designing technical curricula with a vision for a more inclusive future
Announcing Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit features in preview, broader Matter availability, and new developer tools
How Alexa Fund Startup Syntiant is delivering next generation customer experiences with edge computing