Amazon last week introduced a new approach to in-store technology and strategy, with its Amazon Go experiment. On the plus side, it offers a vision of the possible, with shoppers taking a few seconds to check in to a store on their phone and then they grab what they want off the shelves and exit the store.
There’s no scanning labels or barcodes and absolutely nothing resembling a checkout lane. Everything is done, in Amazon’s phrasing, with “computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning” and “machine-learning” plus artificial intelligence. OK, but the absence of meaningfully specific technical details has more the feel of smoke and mirrors. (Note: Computerworld asked for an Amazon interview to go deeper into the particulars. Amazon replied and referred us to its website, which we interpreted as “no interview.” We get nervous when a retailer offers something vague and then doesn’t want to answer any questions about it.)