This week’s hot news is that Amazon has unveiled its first Amazon Go cashier-less convenience store in Seattle, Washington USA. A store where users simply swipe their smartphone at the gate, pick up their desired items and walk out, all without having to wait in line at the cash register or fumble with a self-checkout system. Ironically, tech geeks have been queueing-up for hours to check out the queue-less store.
While the idea of a check-out free store is welcome news to consumers around the world, the concept is raising some issues and questions for users and for the idea of a cashier-less store.
Potential privacy problems
The initial concern is a fear of being monitored or tracked as cameras monitor customers in the personal hygiene aisle. Perhaps your Personally identifiable information (PII) may get into the wrong hands or Amazon might learn which order you like to buy your groceries.
The hard truth is that your PII is already in Amazon’s hands if you want to use the store. Simply entering the Amazon Go Seattle store requires you to have an Amazon account and present your smart device upon entry.
If you already have an Amazon account, you will have shared your details, and the company would have your payment information on file. If you still trust them up to this point, there is no added risk to your privacy to enter an Amazon Go store.
The short answer to all this tracking and monitoring is – simply opt-out if you’re not keen on the idea of your personal information being shared. There are many alternative technology choices and precautions you can take to avoid over-sharing personal information with tech giants.
How does the Amazon Go store work?
Once you enter the front gates, this futuristic store tracks users and purchases by using a combination of intelligent cameras and shelf sensors that detect when items are taken.
Good luck out-smarting this system!
Amazon says they don’t use facial detection because they thought it might scare users off. Though, users who worry about facial recognition systems probably aren’t going to the Amazon Go store anytime soon.
The big benefit of Amazon Go is speed.
Once you’re set up with an Amazon account and app, simply walk into the new Seattle store, scan your phone on the smart gate, pick up what you need and walk out. It is that simple.
Upon exiting the store, your Amazon account will bill you instantly using your preferred payment method.
The benefits for Amazon are yet to be seen; the store is in its infancy and Amazon hasn’t yet released figures on how much money they’re saving on checkout operator wages.
While it will be a long time until Amazon makes back its development costs, in the interim, they’re likely forming a better profile on the shopping habits of their users and figuring out how they can make use of that information.
Perhaps if this first Amazon Go store works well, we might see this trend catch on with Coles and Woolworths here in Australia.
Look out checkout operators! You might be replaced by robots sooner than you thought.
For further information and assistance in protecting your privacy and that of your organisation please do not hestitate to contact Agilient.
The Agilient Team