How Alexa Connect Kit helped Lloyd's reduce development time by 75% and expand into new countries

Sanjeev Sridharan May 09, 2024
Smart Home Matter Support

Lloyd's is a leading provider of smart home products such as security systems, lights, plugs, and fans. The company recently used the Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) to reduce development time by 75%, expand into new countries, and increase monthly sales of smart bulbs by 25X during the 2023 holiday season. 

ACK makes it simple for device makers to create connected devices without having to worry about multiple wireless protocols, complex cloud connectivity, and maintenance of cloud infrastructure.

Lloyd's decision to use ACK is consistent with the company’s track record of working backwards from customer needs to create new products. The inspiration for creating this company happened when Salomon Saad, CEO of Lloyd's, developed a timer-controlled smart switch to help out an elderly couple in his apartment complex in Mexico. When Alexa became available in Mexico, Saad saw how Lloyd's could use Alexa to enable customers to interact with its products in natural and intuitive ways. 

The company decided to use ACK to quickly and easily build products at a fixed per-device cost and even created a separate brand called Evolux for products built with ACK. Customers have responded enthusiastically to the Evolux smart bulb – hundreds of thousands of smart bulbs have been sold in Mexico and Canada since launch. 

Salomon says that ACK offers Lloyd's four advantages:

1.     Faster time-to-market

Prior to ACK, development teams at Lloyd's spent time and resources creating an app for every product and managing different cloud services. With ACK, it was able to leverage pre-developed application code and reference hardware designs through Amazon approved ACK partners, which in turn enabled it to prototype the smart bulb quickly. This plug and play capability of ACK cut development time from almost a year to three months, which represents a 75% reduction.

“One of our retailers asked us to develop a product customized for their customer base,” Saad says. “Ordinarily, this would have taken months, but with ACK, our teams were able to build a prototype to show in two days.”

2.     Reduction in costs

Prior to ACK, Lloyd's would spend tens of thousands of dollars to develop a smart home product. With ACK, pre-developed application codes and Wi-Fi module hardware designs provided by ACK partners reduce the need for engineering resources. Lloyd’s also pays a low one-time per-device fee that covers the ongoing use of the ACK service including provisioning and tooling for Matter devices. 

“We have seen a significant reduction in development and maintenance costs with ACK, sometimes up to 90%” says Saad. 

3.     Simpler device setup experience for customers

With ACK, device makers can easily enable Frustration-Free Setup (FFS) for customers. FFS is an Amazon program that enables device makers to incorporate technology to make device setup as easy for customers as opening a box and powering on a device. Since implementing FFS, Lloyd's has cut customer service calls related to setup by a third. The ease of setup has also resulted in a ten percent reduction in the number of smart bulbs returned compared to the average across its device portfolio.

4.     Amazon’s support throughout the product lifecycle

Lloyd's use of Amazon as a distribution channel has helped the company to expand beyond Central and South America and enter the Canadian market. Lloyd’s was able to work with Amazon to optimize its product detail pages and deploy targeted promotions around Prime Day and the holiday shopping season. In Mexico alone, Lloyd's sold twenty-five times its monthly volume of smart bulbs during the two holiday weeks in November 2023.

Following the successful launch of the smart bulb, Lloyd's plans to release a smart plug built using ACK in the near future. The company plans to expand its ACK portfolio to build a wide range of products such as ceiling fans and aroma dispensers. Another advantage: with ACK for Matter, Lloyd’s can enable customers to connect its portfolio of products not just to Alexa but any Matter-compatible smart home assistant, while continuing to receive the added benefits of cloud connectivity to build differentiated products, without managing cloud services or creating a skill. The company plans to launch its products in the United States and will leverage ACK to build new offerings.

“I would like to build all of my products with ACK,” says Saad.

Learn more about Lloyd’s and ACK

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