We are waiting anxiously for a lot many Tech things to be launched in the new year 2017. Among, the most awaited one is the AMAZON GO Stores. I am quite very impressed with Amazon, because of the combination of Technologies in their GO Store, the amazing idea of “Just Walk Out” and YES! As being said by everyone, the biggest selling point – no check-out lines. Hats-Off to the IDEA!!
The thing which has appealed me the most is not just this new Idea but the new way of using the existing technologies. You read that correct! Amazon has undoubtedly come up with a great concept but by combining existing technologies in a unique way.
In this blog, I am going to describe one of the main technologies being used in Amazon Go Store and which has been existing from quite a long time i.e. RFID – Radio Frequency Identification.
RFID is an Automated Data Collection technology that uses radio-frequency waves to transfer data between a reader and a movable item to identify, categorize, and track. It is a form of wireless communication that uses radio waves to identify and track objects.
Some of the present applications of RFID:
- Public Transport:
The most commonly witnessed usage of RFID by the people around the globe is in Public Transportation. RFID cards are used for access control. Tickets are either embedded with the chip or we have a proper RFID tag as a Access Card for the public transportation.
- Access Control in Offices:
Nowadays we would find access cards being used for entry and exit in almost all the offices, just to prevent any non-employee from entering into the office area.
- Transportation payments:
In many countries, RFID tags are provided to the people with a stored amount for quick payments of their travel in buses, train, subways, or to collect tolls. These are the rechargeable cards in which you could add up value to increase the balance.
RFID provides a way for organizations to identify and manage tools and equipment without manual data entry. This technique in being widely used in big retail stores and malls. This helps in decreasing the thefts in the malls, as at the gates they have installed the RFID Readers. If any item is being taken out of the shop without the payment being done, the siren starts ringing.
- Animal Identification:
This is the oldest usage of RFID tags which helps in the management and identification of animals for farms having a huge number of Livestock. An implantable RFID tag can also be used for Animal Identification. These tags may also be used for motion tracking in animals.
using RFID system in place of Barcodes for the Library items has improved the inventory management in the Library. The tags can contain identifying information or just the code in the database, and it can even help in self-service checkout.
- Supply Chain Management:
It helps in maintaining the inventory of the products and tracking them in the supply cycle.
- Manufacturing and Processing:
Active RFID tags are of the best use in manufacturing processes. They items could be tagged with them and after every phase of manufacturing the information could be updated on the tag. By scanning the defective products could be separated in the factory itself.
- Hospitals and Healthcare:
Hospitals are the first ones to combine both types of RFID tags – Passive and Active. RFID tracking solutions are being used in healthcare in a variety of ways as managing mobile medical equipment, improving patient workflow, monitoring environmental conditions, and protecting patients, staff, and visitors from infection or other hazards.
These were some of the present applications of RFID technology. But how Amazon is using this technology is yet a mystery which will only be revealed once it opens up for the customers. As of now, it could only be guessed that the articles are attached with Passive RFID tags. Once the article is picked by any person it gets added in the cart of that person by decoding the RFID tag. Well, if I try to think of how that would have been done then I can figure out two possible ways for it:
- RFID Scan by the Handheld Device:
The handheld Device is our Mobiles with the Amazon Go App that is scanned for entry. There could be a feature in the app that would scan the RFID IDs of all the products taken by the person and make list of all picked items accordingly.
- RFID Scan by Cameras in the Store:
It could also be possible that the cameras in the store can also scan the RFID’s or Camera together with the sensors on the shelves would detect the Article and add it to the person’s list of items picked.
Well, how amazon is using the RFID technology would be known only after people in Seattle start to use them and that would be possible only next year i.e. 2017. So, wait till then and keep reading about more such technologies used in the Amazon GO Store, in my blogs.