Following the news in the technology niche, especially when something new just hits the market, can be frustrating if you don’t totally know the lingo of the market.
At one time, the craze was about bitcoins. At another time, you could not load any tech website and not find something about the latest iPhones to hit the market. Right now, the ever-moving world of technology is at it again, and its Amazon Go that is making all the waves.
No. I don’t aim to contribute to the amount of confusion you must have had by reading all about it. Instead, I will try to answer some of the many questions that have been running through your mind on this new project.
What is Amazon Go? Where is it active right now? How does it work? These and much more would be answered below. Shall we?
1 How do I enter a store?
Entering the Amazon Go store would not be like entering any other kind of store. While there are no security guards at the door to check and pass you in, there is a neat feature that does that.
At the door of the store, you are required to scan a QR Code that would have been generated by the Amazon Go application you have on your phone. On successful completion of the scanning, you are allowed access to the shop.
2 How does the store work?
First of all, if you have not heard that the store is cashier-less, let me be the first to tell you that. That being said, the store is fitted with dozens upon dozens of camera units that track your every movement in the store.
In fact, right from the moment you scanned the QR code form your phone, the store has already begun to associate your physical presence with your online activity (as if you were shopping from the app).
These cameras would then work together to map your every movement around the store, looking at the things you interact with and those you finally pick for purchase. The images that are captured by the cameras are sent to a central unit for processing, and there, the person, what they are holding, and what they are looking at is determined.
Note that all of these is done in split seconds
3 How do I buy things?
Buying in the Amazon Go store is not hard at all. In fact, you will find it much better than going to your regular store. When you find something you like, pick it up and put it into your bag. There is no need to show it to any cashier, security guard, sales rep… you get the idea. Just pick it and put it in your bag or pocket.
You should know that as soon as you pick something off the shelves, it is automatically added to the cart in your Amazon Go app. That is how to keep track of your shopping before the auto-checkout completes
4 Does Amazon Go capture my face?
No. The developers are aware that there might be some concerns about the privacy of their customers, so they have opted for other means to track each customer around the store. In fewer words, your facial data will not be captured for whatever reason
5 What Happens when something breaks down?
Mostly, the cameras are at the risk of breaking down. Interestingly, the Amazon Go store has been tested for such a case. When something happens with a camera unit, others kick in to support the missing frame.
While that is highly unlikely to happen, there is a procedure in place to get things fixed as fast as possible
6 Is shoplifting possible?
There are a lot of measures put in place against shoplifting. I don’t feel the need to stress the camera technology again, but I have not mentioned something else – the weight sensors.
Every shelf has a weight sensor that stores the data on the exact weight of every item. That makes it hard for someone to pick two small boxes of chocolate at once and try to make it look like one. The shelf is there to catch them.
7 What if all else fails?
Even though the system has been designed to be fail-proof, the instance is prepared for. The provision is in the form of a human that oversees the operations and manages all of the technical parts of the store. Were something to go wrong, human guidance will be put to work.
8 How does Amazon Go hold up against crowds?
Amazingly, the store does well when there are crowds around. Even if there were identical twins with the same outfit in the crowd, and at different locations, the cameras would still be able to pick them out differently, and charge them according to the things they have picked.
9 So, Amazon Go is totally controlled by computers?
No, it is not. There are some humans in the loop too. Asides the above case where an operator is on ground for when the system finds itself in a bind, humans are also involved in replenishing the stock, whipping up the meals that go on the shelves and as ID checkers in the wine/ beer section, to mention but a few.
Those are nine questions that might have been bothering you about this virgin project. With that, I believe you will be able to see the beauty behind this new level of shopping the more.
In the case you still have an unanswered question, do well to let me know in the comments section.