Amazon has pretty much taken over the e-commerce industry over the last two decades or so. The company, which started as an online book shop, now sells a plethora of products and is rightly known as ‘the everything store.’ However, it is also important to note that Amazon is not so dominant due to some sort of a first mover’s advantage but due to the company’s zeal to constantly innovate and find an edge over their rivals. One of Amazon’s biggest projects is the massive data collection effort that it engages in, in order to ensure that it can gain a competitive edge and to that end, they had engaged in a range of innovative tactics.
However, in a new development, the company has been granted a patent for its drone surveillance technology and now the company could literally have ‘eyes in the sky’ that would be able to boost its data collection efforts further. That being said, the patent is quite specific about what the drones can look into and will be allowed to gather data about objects within a ‘geo-fence.’ There is no provision for the drones to look into the private property, but Amazon customers can choose to opt-in as part of the program.
Needless to say, such a development might have given rise to concerns about privacy but John Tagle, an executive at Amazon, quashed those notions. Tagle said,
Some reports have suggested that this technology would spy or gather data on homes without authorization—to be clear, that’s not what the patent says. The patent clearly states that it would be an opt-in service available to customers who authorize monitoring of their home.
Despite this recent development, it is quite difficult to figure out whether Amazon is going to act on the awarding on the patent and immediately start sending teams of drones into the skies to augment their research. It could even be some time before the company actually decides to start acting on the new patent.