Much has been said about Amazon and its rise as an e-commerce company but is Amazon all about that? There is an answer which is an obvious one- No, Amazon as a technology company is also a designation that serves the purpose of Amazon.
So, what is Amazon doing in the technology area that serves the tagline – Amazon as a technology company is what this article will try to analyze to put things into perspective.
Apart from being a retail company, it is also a company that is experimenting with robotics, cloud software, artificial intelligence and is providing space for entertainment networks. The buzz around the personal assistant Alexa which is a competitor to Google assistant is another case in point.
The list to highlight the technological advancements of Amazon is long but a very interesting one. Let us dive into it and understand the divisions of Amazon bit by bit.
Amazon has invested in subsidiaries such as Zoox, Body Labs, Ring, Alexa, and so forth. These companies and their association with Amazon will be discussed later in the following passages: subsidiaries will validate Amazon as a technological company.
Let us start with the Amazon Games
This is a fully owned division of Amazon wherein the games are developed. The game investment is just a strategy for competing with Google Stedia and Microsoft Xbox Studio.
It started off with Airport Mania, followed by a sequel of it and both these games were developed by Reflexive Entertainment for the Appstore. It received a mixed review which is expected for a beginner but with the passage of time, they enhanced their game development and collaborated with many developers, and managed to impress a lot of users.
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The Facebook called Living classics became popular and with it the popularity of Amazon Games. However, the purpose of the article is not to highlight the history of Amazon Games but to analyze how it contributes to the stature of Amazon as a technology company.
The games developed under this division are a huge contributor to the status of Amazon as a technology company for the simplest reason that it develops games with different modules. The modules range from graphics to user experience to clarity towards the virtual space.
The right reference point would be Ready Player One. The Space that the fictional book and movie provide is partially the direction amazon is heading towards. This is perhaps a small but significant lap of Amazon as a technology company.
Now, one thing is pretty clear that Amazon is focusing on the virtual experience of users and is expediting the technology required to the optimum.
To understand further, let’s skim through another division of Amazon – Amazon Robotics
This is a pioneering and relevant venture of Amazon as the twenty-first century is the century of robots. It has been developing a robotic system wherein the lifting up of goods and the storage accommodation is looked after by a cluster of robots each functioning through a series of bar codes to avoid colliding.
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Amazon as an e-commerce giant is practically using this division to ease down their labor and storage issue and to make the distribution system more advanced and futuristic. It has two robotic models-small and big – the former is used to lift goods of about 1000 pounds and the latter is used to carry goods of about 3000 pounds.
The word robotics itself echoes the spirit of Amazon as a technology company.
It is time to peep into another division of the retail giant – AWS
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
This is perhaps the cash cow of Amazon. As per the media reports, it is suggested that Amazon bleeds to gain market dominance but ever wondered how they managed to do so?
Well, yes, it is AWS that provides the necessary funds that make it easy for Amazon to bleed. So what is this AWS and why is it so important to Amazon?
It is an on-demand computing platform and APIs for individuals. These services in a nutshell provide the required infrastructure to computing operations such as building blocks and tools necessary for Computing. One of the services facilitated under AWS is EC2 which permits users to have digital space on-demand or at their disposal which is not restricted to time. It can be accessed at any standard time.
AWS provides a basis for virtual computers which is compatible with CPUs, GPUs. in other words, it provides every aspect of computing from a virtual medium and additionally provides a web service wherein the operations of the users can function.
Why did it gain traction?
It gained traction because of its business model, it allows the users to make payments for the services with the “Pay as you go” model depending upon the requirement of the users. The more the services, the more the payment. However, another reason for its popularity is its affordability. It has become one of the biggest computing services companies after Microsoft and Google.
What kind of services does it provide?
There are a list of services that the AWS provides to the users namely –
- Application services,
- Machine learning,
- Internet of things,
- Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud(EC2)
- AWS Lambda
- Amazon Connect
By the description of AWS, we have managed to justify Amazon as a technology company but we would still persist with the similar operations of Amazon to put things into perspective as mentioned earlier.
So, what is the next thing that could match the scale of Robotics, AWS, Games etc? Did you get the answer? It is exactly what you are thinking, of course, Artificial Intelligence.
Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence
If you have read so far then, you would have noticed one of the services that Amazon has provided- Machine learning under the services of AWS. This has been one of the major developments under AWS. It is the up-gradation of artificial intelligence that makes AWS more efficient than before and highly compatible with the other services that it facilitates.
Amazon as a techn company can only maintain its status if and when the A.I. is used efficiently and upgraded accordingly. Currently, it operates one of the most competitive machine learning programs and it is so competitive that even Google is worried about it.
There are no two opinions on the fact that their personal assistant services are better in Amazon than in Google. Yes, Google is the preferred one because of its android dominance but Alexa is a much better option to Google and is already altering the personal experiences of A.I in smart appliances.
This kind of influence coming from a company that emerged with a different set of principles is astonishing but not to that extent. Amazon was destined to be a technology company primarily because it invested its values and trust in the Internet Services which they identified much earlier than Google or IBM had managed to do. Again, it is the strategic inflection point that they unearthed and steadily intertwined as their major goals.
If one has to really identify with the prospects of Amazon, then the by-products of artificial intelligence must be studied first. These by-products which are literally babies of AWS have pushed the envelope for technology to a level that can be called futuristic. So, what are the names of the babies?
- Amazon Go Store.
- Prime drone- deliveries.
Let us have a look into these two babies of AWS:
Amazon Go Store Technology
This division of Amazon will make you believe in science fiction novels. The concept of Amazon Go is to allow fully automated retail stores to function in the market with no humans supervising it. From the arrangement of goods to payments, everything is fully automated.
The usage of sensors plays a very important role in this endeavor because machine learning only functions in this model through sensors and lenses of identifying human bodies and recording the data accordingly. However, this has been going through major changes because of the various probabilities involved in the business model of automated stores.
This endeavor of Amazon is huge and complex but not crazy because they have managed to develop a functional model for automated retail stores and are pioneering the space for it.
To have the courage to actually use artificial intelligence for the most basic requirement of human beings is a huge task undertaken by Amazon. But, the adverse effects of this automated world that Amazon is showcasing to the world and its competitors are equally dangerous from an economic point of view. The forecasts of economic trends for a change of this magnitude will be interesting and forward-looking.
Amazon Prime Air Technology
I think by now astonishment at the many layers of technological advancement that Amazon has headed towards is becoming a usual emotion for the readers. Well, there is no denial in the fact that it is very captivating for any layman who is unaware of this side of Amazon.
Amazon Prime Air facilitates the drone delivery system for goods that are below 5 pounds i.e, 2.5 kg. It will be operated under a small distance of 10 miles and not further than that as of now. This is detrimental to the delivery labor market that Amazon has been very proud of. It will create a downtrend in the labour market but that is just a hypothesis and not something to be very certain about.
This surely accredited Amazon as a technology company that pushes the envelope for good services to the users so that they remain as the preferred choice. It is also a struggle to monopoly if not anything else. Well, I will see in the days to come and highlight the trends of Amazon accordingly.
So, is that it? No, let us take a look into some of the subsidiary companies of Amazon and how it is shaping the narrative of Amazon as a technology company.
Tech Start-Ups That Amazon Acquired
We will look into the operations of Amazon through the startups it acquired over the years and assess how it is establishing its empire by innovating and identifying problems step by step. We will sense that from Zoox and Twitch Interactive it’s way to use it for better. Let Zoox be the first subsidiary of Amazon, to begin with:
This company was acquired by Amazon in the year 2020 and it plays a very strategic role in the e-commerce business of Amazon. The strategic role from a future perspective. The company is developing automated taxis which will probably be used for delivering items to customers, taxi services, and so forth.
This literally gives us a picture of how the future would look like and it is not science fiction because Google has been testing its own automated taxis which does validate the fact that automated vehicles are indeed the future. It is perhaps from a competitive point of view that Amazon has acquired the operations of Zoox. Also, it serves as an advantage to the retail side of Amazon.
Robo – taxis will be used for two purposes: delivery and transportation. It is going to disrupt the labor force to an extent and economists will have to estimate the problems of the economy from different lenses now. The traditional methods will become obsolete because the impact of automated technology will have adverse effects on households that have a limited understanding of the constraints that automation will bring in the workforce.
This is how Amazon as a technology company is heading forward using Zoox or at least that’s the vision it projects.
It is a platform like YouTube for engaging creative content, gaming, music broadcast and other content-related services for the Users. The model of Twitch interactive is similar to YouTube but it is unique because of the priorities it facilitates is on demand and live gameplay streaming.
There is nothing to add in Twitch interactive apart from the fact that it operates on a very customized and friendly computing software which further validates Amazon as a technology company.
From the above description, one thing is pretty clear, Amazon is trying to consolidate various markets available to operate effectively. It serves to their advantage because they operate the basic needs of human beings – Food & clothing and partially shelter. This is a huge advantage for them as it is the center of all other needs because they can practically sell anything.
By investing in the digital space, they are pioneering the User Experience and gaining the trust of the users with their services. By investing in games, they provide a better option to the users. Additionally, it leads to competition.
By investing in Robo-taxis, they provide a new chain for the delivery systems which also throws light on the distribution system, storage capacity and so forth.
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Amazon is trying its hands on almost every trend and is giving stiff competition to Google, Microsoft in the development of A.I. and the usage of Web services.
It would not be wrong to suggest that Amazon is striving to be a monopoly in many ways by ushering into these services and creating a technology hub for itself.
Amazon as a technology company is not only innovating at the forefront but is also shaping the way the human race would live one and a half decades from now. This is happening and would have far-reaching impacts.
Another striking observation is Amazon’s attitude towards every business, they want to facilitate every smart approach for the convenience of their users but they don’t want companies to do it independently, they want them to merge it and it is this strategy of Amazon that may attach a bad tag to Amazon as a technology company, perhaps a capitalist 1984 reference would be appropriate.