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Amazon Go: Shopping just got back from the future

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I have seen the 90s hit movie Back from the Future one too many times, all three of it by the way, and I am always wowed by the kind of ingenuity that went into the plot, storyline and direction of the movie. In a time when there were no iPhones as we know them today, and smart houses of now would have just been a dream, a party of great thinkers must surely have been involved in the setting of the movie.

As interesting as that is, one of the newest craze in the tech – and undoubtedly, shopping and commerce – world in the past few days has left me thinking this is a scene from another one of those movies. If you haven’t gleaned what I am talking about yet, it is none other than the introduction of Amazon Go – the cashierless shopping system.

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I am all for innovation and technology, but if you had told me something like this would be possible soon, I would have had a hard time coming to terms with that. Yet, here we are. This is a product of the combination of what I will refer t as some of the best minds in the world. The way the whole platform has been set up, its operations and also, its reported efficiency is a technological marvel, to say the least.

All that asides, the simplicity of the project is something else to consider. In my mind, I would have been thinking about the numerous weight sensors, unsightly assembly of cameras, other tracking devices and the likes that would be positioned in the store.

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Guess what? Everything has been made to look seamless, the only thing you will probably notice is the absence of a sales rep doting on you, or a cashier waiting for you at the checkout.

Coming from Amazon too, I cannot say I am very surprised. This is a brand that has dedicated its time, personnel and other resources to change the way we shop. Running at a loss for many years after its inception, the Amazon brand stood its ground, believing the world would soon be able to accept a model of buying things online.

Fast forward to many years down the line, and that is the reality. Brick and mortar stores will now wish they all started their own Amazon-like projects to compete with the then small fish.

Jeff Bezos is a name that should not be left out. Sticking with the brand from the founding days when it sold only books, till now when also everything can be found there, is no small commitment. It has paid dividends though.

Currently sitting on the list of the world richest man as the first, he also happens to be the one that has crossed the $100 billion-dollar mark. Already, Amazon Go is said to have brought in some $2.8 billion for the businessman, and there is more to come.

This is the 21st century and a very good time to be alive. On record, it would still be the year when shopping took a time machine (I am still waiting for this, by the way) from the future, and visited us.

If you have some questions about the new technology, we have taken the time out to answer some of the common ones that might be on your mind here.

Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article Amazon Go: Shopping just got back from the future was written by Owolabi Olanrewaju. The article was last modified: January 24th, 2018

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Chemical Engineer by Day. Tech Writer by Night. President of the United States of Computer Village and Silicon Valley at every other time.