Amazon has recently filed a patent that could make a huge impact in the world of retail. It covers things like one-click shopping and urban fulfillment centres.
When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon, he wanted the company to be the “Invention Machine” that could spawn new ideas and technologies. Today, Amazon has become a hybrid e-commerce and technology firm, with over 15,000 patent applications filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Amazon is also a huge player in the apparel business. It owns end-to-end manufacturing for custom-measured garments. The company’s strategy is to use data from customers’ shopping experiences to produce more accurate service offerings and products that customers will love.
Another interesting innovation is a system for robo-cutting fabrics. This approach would enable Amazon to create custom-measured clothing that could command higher margins.
Amazon has also patented technology for detecting hacked self-driving cars. Although Amazon hasn’t fully tapped into this technology yet, it may be crucial to Amazon’s future.
Lastly, a recent patent filed by Amazon describes a new way of delivering packages to cities. It uses facial recognition, GPS, and cell tower triangulation to determine location. That’s a lot more sophisticated than proximity marketing, which essentially requires a customer to be close to the package.
If these innovations take off, they could have a profound impact on the retail industry. For example, Amazon’s patent on a virtual fitting would eliminate the last remaining advantage of in-store retailers.
While these aren’t the only patents that Amazon has filed, the list above demonstrates how the company is ramping up its patent activity in the areas of augmented reality and video. Amazon is also a leading player in the Internet of Things, claiming to have invented voice-sniffing tech for Echo speakers.
Clearly, the Internet of Things has immense potential for both Amazon and Walmart. As the two companies increase their investments in healthcare and transportation, it’s likely that they’ll both implement their own versions of the technology.
2. Trigger agents in video streams from drones
The Amazon patent department is not short of ideas. For example, the company has patented a floating airship for its delivery drones, as well as an acrobatic parachute label.
Not content to rest on its laurels, the online juggernaut has filed a patent on the first roving fueling station for electric vehicles. Also, the company has patented a system to make the best use of your data and provide recommendations based on customer behavior. These inventions are the first of their kind, paving the way for more advanced innovations.
As for the actual drones themselves, it’s not yet clear whether or not these roving devices will ever materialize. But for now, they are making the journey to your front door, and delivering packages. This is a technological feat that can be attributed to an onboard computer that analyzes weather and conditions to determine the best course of action. With the right software, a craft could self-destruct in the event of an emergency. And, as for safety, you’ll never have to worry about a drone taking down a house or an automobile.
It’s also possible that this technology will be repurposed for other purposes. For instance, the company is already testing out its drones in the United Kingdom. Although the company is still a little early in the game, it’s clear that its vision for the future is a thriving one. In the meantime, watch out for the nimble one stealing your thunder. One more note of caution, as with any futuristic tech, your privacy will be on the line.
So, what does Amazon have to say about their new found innovations? Well, they’re not a secret, and it’s not a secret any more, as evidenced by the patents filed in the past twelve months.
3. Low-flying satellite system
Amazon’s patent innovations include its low-flying satellite system, an innovative e-commerce site and a streamlined patent filing process. As the e-commerce juggernaut continues to expand its footprint, the world’s largest retailer is proving its innovation credentials time and again.
As a testament to its R&D prowess, Amazon recently received patents for Rocket Launch Systems and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The UAVs are part of Amazon’s vision to make the internet available to everyone, including those who lack Internet access. This would allow customers to order products from the company’s website and have them delivered directly to their home. With 3,236 low-flying satellites ready to go, the company has big plans for its newfound space.
Considering the billion dollar market cap, Amazon has plenty of cash to throw around. One estimate indicates that Amazon could add up to four billion new customers. It’s no secret that Jeff Bezos is the boss of the pack when it comes to innovation. In fact, he’s the first inventor in the company’s 35 published patents. His enthusiasm is infectious, and the company’s employees view him as the catalyzer for innovation.
As one of the ten largest companies in the world, Amazon is also one of the most opportunistic. In 2010, it struck a patent deal with Microsoft, which helped it secure a number of patents. These patents cover the most important scientific and technological achievements of the day, such as a scalable, secure, and fast internet connection.
As a hybrid e-commerce and technology firm, Amazon drives innovation from the top. From the most impressive inventions to the least-insightful, the company’s patents are the products of its hard work, passion, and drive to make the Internet accessible to all.
4. Urban fulfillment centre
Amazon is working on futuristic concepts for urban fulfillment centers. The company wants to cater to the growing demand for taller warehouses and shorter delivery windows.
One of these ideas is for an airborne fulfillment center. An airship with a mothership would hover high above the city, picking up packages and delivering them. It also has smaller airships that resupply the mothership with inventory.
Another Amazon patent concept is for a multilevel fulfillment center. These towers would be located in densely populated downtown districts. They would serve as charging hubs, pit stops for delivery drones, and support thousands of orders per day.
In addition to towers, Amazon has also patented a mobile truck-based mini warehouse. This idea is similar to its current delivery method, but would allow Amazon to deliver packages to cities without the hassle of traffic.
There’s another patent application for a vertical warehouse, which would resemble a skyscraper. These warehouses would be partially automated. Workers would carry hand-held computers to monitor progress.
These are just a few of the many cutting-edge ideas that Amazon is experimenting with for a new way to deliver packages in cities. While they might not be feasible yet, these innovations could change the way retail and manufacturing operates.
Amazon has a vision for each city to have one of these facilities. They’re designed to be scalable, meaning that they can grow as more products come in. By 2028, 40 percent of all parcels will be delivered within two hours.
In addition, Amazon is experimenting with using drones for package deliveries. Their vision includes using an AR-loaded goggles to navigate, and local re-stocking stations for drones.
Although they’re still in the early stages, the United States has put into place some regulation for drones. If the rules continue to evolve, Amazon’s vision of drone-based packages in the city may be a reality.
5. One-click shopping
If you’re an online retailer, you’ve probably heard of Amazon’s patent innovations, including its 1-click shopping invention. In the last 18 years, the technology has generated billions for Amazon. While the invention isn’t groundbreaking, it does improve the purchasing experience.
The idea behind Amazon’s one-click ordering system is that consumers don’t have to go through the usual frustrations of shopping online. These include multi-page checkout processes, annoying upsells, and payment errors.
Among the many advantages of one-click ordering, one of the most notable is that it makes it more convenient to buy from a mobile device. Mobile payment solutions include Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Amazon’s patent innovation also comes with an important caveat. Because the technology involves an extremely small step, it’s easy to replicate. This is a good thing for merchants. However, it’s not good for patent holders.
One of the biggest benefits of the 1-Click patent is that it has allowed Amazon to establish a market share in the online retail industry. For example, it’s been estimated that a simple one-click ordering process can increase sales by five percent.
Another benefit is that it reduces the amount of time consumers spend on a purchasing decision. It is estimated that the average consumer spends around $2100 annually on impulse buying.
Although the Amazon 1-Click patent is set to expire soon, it has already been a boon to the ecommerce giant. Its patent relates to the “business method” of identifying a credit card holder.
Other big tech companies are developing a similar solution, including Google and Microsoft. Facebook is also considering Internet-wide implementation of one-click ordering.
With Amazon’s patent expiring in less than a year, it’s important for retailers to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of one-click ordering.