You all have already seen this scene one day. You do your shopping in a supermarket. Occupied with work and family life, you are pressed especially as it is the weekend and you would like to enjoy. Problem: you are not the only one to use your spare time to purchase. Result: queues in the cashier have not finished anymore. And as it never rains but it pours, it turns out that a customer forgot to weigh a bag of fruit or the cashier has a problem with his scanner.
What a hell.
Go to Amazon Go
But maybe this scene will soon be the past. In any case, it has already been for the inhabitants of Seattle in the State of Washington who were able to test Amazon Go for the first time on Monday January 22nd, the supermarket without money of the giant of the American e-commerce. Truly speaking, the latter has tested the formula since December, 2016. It needed one more year to solve the technical essential problems for a public launch.
It is the row of porticoes that welcomes you in the Amazon Go entrance. It’s time time to verify that you are not in front of a subway station, your smart phone offers you a ticket or a map to enter. It is just enough to scan it. Pay attention to detain well an Amazon account failing to see the entrance refusal in an effective way as a bouncer of nightclub. On the other hand, it is not necessary to have a Prime account.
Once you get inside, you reach 170 square meters of shelves filled with foodstuffs carefully arranged. It is also possible to find bandages and piles. As we have never been served better ourselves, items in the retail stores Whole Food acquired by Amazon are also available.
Fluidity against surveillance
Then you do shopping as you would like in any supermarket. Except that everything is made to improve the user’s experience to make it most fluid and practical possible. Besides the cancellation of lines, the lack of money also has the effect on eliminating shopping carts. All the process of purchase is automated, which become then obsolete. Thus there exit the collisions with other customers. You have to place your products in a bag now.
When you take them on shelf, they also add virtual shopping cart to your Amazon account. The technology precision is like that you can allow to hesitate by putting the item back to the place where you took . Your action is followed "numerically" by effect. Anyway in case of technical problem, there are employees (human beings) to intervene. Once you finish your shopping, your account is charged by the money spent.
How does this technology of the more supernatural than it is almost invisible work? Amazon is little talks about the subject. Just let’s find out that the plan consists of tens cameras and weighty sensors. The whole is doped by means of an artificial intelligence based on the deep apprenticeship which allows to identify the customers and understand their behavior inside the store. This "Just Walk Out Technology" as the qualified Amazon is capable of identifying all which is on the displays without requiring any upgrade of each item.
A threaten employment?
An another shadow zone: at the moment we do not know if other Amazon Go are going to open in the United States and the rest of the world. If Amazon is a giant of the e-commerce, the market of foodstuffs has so far eluded. Moreover, it is possible that the company expands this model through the Whole Foods stores or by creating contracts with other brands.
When the model of the hypermarket knows starts just like Carrefour and its recent plan of voluntary departure of 2,400 people, there is no doubt that the concept of "without money" pleases in a context of cost reduction on the adaptation pretext. Once again, the employees risk to pay the bill. We have the typical example of a profession (a cashier) when the existence is threatened by the technology (l’existence est menacée par la technologie.)
This prospect does not seem to move the visitors coming in such a large number inaugurate Amazon Go on Monday. At the point of forming the queues.
Nevertheless "supermarket in the future" was supposed to avoid.
Article written by Thierry Randretsa