On Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its 52nd monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be, "Amazon GO: Can AWS Lead the Way in IoT as It Did in Cloud?" It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.
Some quick facts:
Topic: "Amazon GO: Can AWS Lead the Way in IoT as It Did in Cloud?"
Date/time: Feb. 8, 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT
Tweetchat handle: Use #eWEEKChat to follow/participate, but it's easier and more efficient to use real-time chat room links.
"Amazon GO: Can AWS Lead the Way in IoT as It Did in Cloud?"
Point-of-sale retail employees may not want to hear this news: Amazon.com late last year announced a new app that shoppers can use to simply go into a store, take whatever they want, and leave—without going through a checkout line.
It's called Amazon Go, and that's exactly what users will do with it: Go, and fast, out the door.
Users with the Amazon Go app on their phones simply check in to a store equipped for the system, put their phones away, shop to their hearts' content, then leave when they're finished. No waiting to pay.
As each item is picked up and held (or stored in a bag) by the shopper, the price is automatically added to the shopper's Amazon account and is deducted from the user's bank account when he or she leaves the store. The store gets the same info plus a copy of the item's SKU (stock-keeping unit) number for inventory management and accounting purposes.
Amazon uses a complicated concoction of new-gen IT in this system: machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep-learning algorithms, sensor fusion and computer vision to determine what shoppers are buying. It's much like the technology used in self-driving vehicles, Amazon said.
More Apps Like This Will Be Coming Soon
AWS undoubtedly is working on more automated apps like this one. So is Google. So is Facebook. So is Apple.
The convenience offered here is undeniable. Nobody ever wants to wait in a line for anything. But this also is simply another way for a powerful and ubiquitous company like Amazon to access your personal data. It's just another tradeoff of personal information for the sake of convenience.
It's a free country; everybody will experience their own comfort levels with something like this. The question is: Where does this kind of thing stop? It stops when individuals say no, that's when. But they're not saying no.
One can argue that AWS is simply doing what it does best: Developing software that benefits its users. Nobody is forced to use AWS, but as time goes on, more people basically resign themselves to the idea that there simply is no data privacy anymore and simply accept the conveniences of what's on the market.
The other side of this is that AWS, already a leader in use of the cloud for various services, is moving with force into the formidable greenfield that is the IoT. Amazon GO is nothing if not a prototype IoT consumer application. Will Jeff Bezos' monster corporation continue to be a leading player in the IoT as it swoops in on us during the next 10 years?
Signs are pointing in that direction; AWS's footprint is everywhere we look. AWS owns about 75 percent of the enterprise and consumer cloud services market.
In this month's eWEEKchat, we'll be asking the following, among other questions:
--What services do you use from AWS? Do you believe AWS is the best in class in cloud services?
--How do you approach using an app such as Amazon GO? Do you feel comfortable with something like that?
--What do you see as the plausibility that AWS is already a monopoly in many ways and is able to control pricing in the cloud servcies market?
--Do you see the IoT, overhyped already as it is, as a legitimate greenfield market for the next several years?
Join us Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. GMT for an hour. Chances are good that you'll learn something valuable.