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Want a smart home? Amazon’s working on it

Amazon announced on Tuesday an investment into a home building start up, increasing its foothold into the smart house market. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Amazon announced on Tuesday an investment into a home building start up, increasing its foothold into the smart house market. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Amazon just made a huge investment toward building voice-activated, smart homes.

The online giant and Obvious Adventures gave a combined $6.7 million to Plant Prefab, a Rialto, California, startup that manufactures low-cost, low-waste homes, according to a statement.

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“Voice has emerged as a delightful technology in the home, and there are now more than 20,000 Alexa-compatible smart home devices from 3,500 different brands,” said Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund. “Plant Prefab is a leader in home design and an emerging, innovative player in home manufacturing. We’re thrilled to support them as they make sustainable, connected homes more accessible to customers and developers.”

Plant Prefab says it aims to use automation to build homes with sustainable materials in half the time at 10 to 25 percent cheaper.

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“In the housing-crunched major cities like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, along with areas like Silicon Valley, it takes too much time to build a home from groundbreaking to occupancy, and labor shortages, construction delays and increased construction costs are exacerbating this trend even further — and making homes increasingly less affordable,” said Plant Prefab Founder and CEO Steve Glenn.

Amazon also recently invested in several new Amazon Alexa-enabled devices included microwaves and amplifiers for the home.

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