Amazon GO convenience stores are its most ambitious research project – it provides a glimpse into the long-term process & high cost of R&D that is required to disrupt the 12T$ grocery industry via …

One former employee claims it’s one of the most expensive research and development projects in the company’s history, though Kumar disputes that, saying the stores use off-the-shelf hardware and Amazon’s existing cloud computing infrastructure. Still, considering the dense placement of cameras and sensors, and the tech-support crews that are on call at all hours of the week, it’s much more expensive than running, say, a 7-Eleven, which could be staffed by a single cashier and—with the possible exception of the Slurpee machine—have little in the way of bespoke technology.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.bloomberg.com

WHY IT MATTERS: this is by far the best review of Amazon GO stores to date. More important is the description of the R&D process, with its hits and misses, failure to deliver, etc. Underlying it all it is a testament to the relative efficiency of conventional supermarkets and convenience stores: large space, racks of products, a checkout counter and as little as 1 person paid minimum wage to pack the shelves and take payment. Technology has a long way to go to be that cost effective. Then again, it is experiments like these that push the limits of what’s possible and make the technology readily available to reach the tipping point at which time everything falls into place…

Farid Mheir
farid@mheir.com