10th September 2021
This week news was revealed of two hardware initiatives that Amazon and Facebook are working on that will integrate their offerings further into the lives of consumers and businesses.
Amazon Point-of-Sale System:
Amazon is reportedly building a new point-of-sale system that could be sold to third-parties to handle both in-store and online transactions, add Amazon checkout options and provide inventory and business analytics. The system is designed to allow Amazon to compete with Shopify and PayPal which already offer POS systems for payments for small businesses.
Codenamed ‘Project Santos’, the POS hardware will give Amazon the opportunity to grow outside its core platform by integrating its retail know how into other business processes, both on and offline by allowing any third party to use Amazon’s processes in its shops, or online. The POS tech also reportedly links to other Amazon services, including Prime, Flex, and One payment tech.
Amazon also announced this week that its ‘Just Walk Out’ technology will be integrated into some Whole Foods locations in the US.
Facebook Smart Sunglasses:
Whilst Amazon is integrating into business processes, Facebook is looking at ways to integrate further into consumers lives with the launch of its long-awaited Ray-Ban Stories Smart sunglasses this Thursday, in partnership with EssilorLuxottica.
The smart sunglasses come in three classic Ray-Ban styles, with a number of colour and lens combinations available and are fully compatible with prescription lenses. The lightweight frames allow users to take photos and videos (with the ability to add 3D effects afterwards) with two 5 MP cameras, listen to music with the in-built speakers and answer phone calls. The glasses are controlled by physical buttons and a touch pad on the right arm and must be connected to an iOS or Android device to be fully functioning. The glasses do have capacity to store photos and videos before transferring to other devices but they also connect with Facebook’s View app that shares content seamlessly to social media. There will be an external LED to indicate when a user is recording through the glasses. Notably, they do not have in-lens displays so users won’t be able to see digital augmented reality content.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook said: “Ray-Ban Stories are an important step toward a future when phones are no longer a central part of our lives and you won’t have to choose between interacting with a device or interacting with the world around you.” This is the first of potentially many steps towards AR wearables for Facebook.”
Global digital platforms are the new countries where people live their lives and they have more users than countries have citizens. They are the new engines of growth and Amazon and Facebook want businesses and consumers to spend even more time inside their ecosystems. Extending their digital services into the physical world is yet another way to ensure that people are more integrated and more engaged with their platforms and services.