3 Questions with Mitchell Davis, vice president of Connected Devices at Jasco

Arun Krishnan Jan 09, 2024
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Established in 1975, the family-run company Jasco is among the world’s leading innovators in home automation, lighting, entertainment, power, and other areas that play an important role in our day-to-day lives. Today, Jasco partners with the world’s leading brands such as Philips, GE, Energizer, and Disney to further the state-of-the-art during every stage of the product go-to-market lifecycle, from research to design, product sourcing, manufacturing, and development.

Jasco has a track record of being innovative in important ways.

Throughout its history, the company has been at the forefront of shaping trends in the home electronics industry – to give just one example, Jasco got into the connected home space as far back as 2006 and has a track record of supporting major protocols like Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and now Matter.

Jasco is also unique in how it thinks about corporate social responsibility. The company donates 50 percent of its net profits from Jasco’s brands to a diverse range of charities. One of the projects the company supports is Water4 – an initiative working to provide people across the world with access to clean drinking water.

Mitchell Davis is the vice president of the Connected Home division at Jasco. Davis has been with the company for fifteen years.

“A lot of what my team does is focused on things like lighting control, devices, and related accessories,” Davis says. “We work on building out products for several of the world’s leading brands. We also have our own private label brands like Enbrighten that we’ve developed from the ground up and managed to grow leveraging Amazon’s retail storefront.”

Davis says that Amazon has proven to be a great asset in growing the company’s business.

“If you have a quality product, the positive customer reviews can really help turbocharge your business growth.”

He points to the Enbrighten Cafe lights as an example. Enbrighten’s impact acrylic café light bulbs are shatterproof, have a longer life, and support a wider spectrum of cafe hues. It is a product that has really resonated with customers, and products like these have helped Enbrighten grow into a million-dollar-plus business.

“We’re seeing a paradigm shift in how the industry does business,” says Davis. “Nowadays, proving that your products sell on Amazon can help you get shelf space in more traditional retail outlets.”

In this interview, Davis talks about why Jasco decided to integrate Amazon’s Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) for Matter. ACK makes it simple for device makers to make connected devices without having to worry about multiple wireless protocols, complex cloud connectivity, and the necessary maintenance of cloud infrastructure. ACK for Matter enables device makers to deliver the increased interoperability of Matter to their customers and receive the added benefits of cloud connectivity features to build differentiated products without managing cloud services or even creating a skill. These features include over-the-air (OTA) updates for device lifecycle management, logs, and metrics.

In addition to Jasco’s integration with ACK for Matter, Davis also speaks about his vision for the future of the smart home.

Mitchell Davis, vice president of connected devices at Jasco


Why did Jasco decide to integrate the ACK for Matter?

The most obvious reason we decided to pursue the integration was that ACK for Matter makes it really easy to build connected devices. The integration enabled us with a full stack that’s implemented, integrated, and running on our devices. ACK for Matter gives developers like us an opportunity to build a product quickly and efficiently, and we have the peace of mind knowing that the product is going to work.

It was a no-brainer to choose to team up with Amazon because we didn’t have to develop a separate app to enable customers to manage their smart home devices. Instead, you can just leverage the large and rapidly growing selection of Echo, Ring, Eero, and other Amazon devices. But what’s especially important about ACK for Matter is that it's scalable across not just Amazon devices, but they work with other devices as well.

We have an extensive line of Wi-Fi-enabled products today. These devices need to talk to the cloud, and on certain occasions, this can cause increased latency. The latency problem is especially compounded when you have a large number of devices. You get what we call “popcorn lighting effects” when your lights start to go on asynchronously.

But Matter solves the problem by providing for local control from the outset. With ACK for Matter, we are able to offer our customers devices with local network control, which eliminates the latency problem. When you give a command to a group of lights, they all go on and off at the same time, and change colors synchronously.

Can you describe the process of working with Amazon?

Companies like Jasco are heavily reliant on third-party developers. The challenge here is that when you work with a third-party developer, you have to get them connected to your original device manufacturer (ODM). You also have to work with a chipset manufacturer. Finally, you have to worry about things like the cloud, and how customers will receive OTA updates.

Working with the ACK team at Amazon made all of this a whole lot simpler. The ACK team at Amazon is housed under one roof. You just work with one team to get all your questions answered. This helped us get the product to market much faster.

What's your vision for the future of the smart home?

The smart home today is smart, and we will continue to make advances in how devices work seamlessly together so that they are able to develop a holistic understanding of the state of the home and take proactive actions on your behalf. Our devices in the smart home will become increasingly more capable as they learn customer behaviors and help them manage their smart homes more efficiently.

Think of your typical smart home device today. It might be able to do things like change the temperature of the room or turn the lights on and off. You can imagine a world where these devices can do a lot more like alert a parent if they hear a baby crying in a room. The smart home of the future is one where all of the devices are going to be able to work seamlessly together to help people lead more comfortable and fulfilled lives.

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