Amazon wants to sell “surveillance as a service”


In case Amazon’s surveillance capabilities weren’t extensive enough with its Echo, Ring, and Key products, not to mention all the data Amazon routinely collects on its customers, the company recently received a US patent to provide “surveillance as a service.”

The patent is for an “unmanned aerial vehicle”—the technical term for a drone—that “may perform a surveillance action at a property of an authorized party” and could “image the property to generate surveillance images.” Amazon suggests in its patent, filed June 12, 2015, and granted June 4 of this year, that drone-based surveillance would be superior to traditional video-camera installations that have limited range, are liable to miss things, and can be manipulated or damaged by an intruder.

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More than 100 million Alexa devices have been sold


More than 100 million devices with Amazon’s Alexa assistant pre-installed have been sold, the company said Friday.

The new metric, revealed by Amazon devices SVP Dave Limp in an interview with The Verge, showcases just how quickly the company has crammed the voice assistant into disparate hardware devices and shoved them out the door. The company did not distinguish further how many of these items were Amazon-built Echo devices and how many were designed by third-party OEMs.

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Impulse-Buying: How technology is making it easier than ever to spend money

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As household debt rises, so too are online innovations that aim to turn your wants and needs into stuff with minimal interruption. So how can we bring mindfulness back to buyer psychology?

This year, Slide 101 of Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report has a simple message: “Making Ends Meet = Difficult.” The bad news continues on the next slide, which states that household debt is at its highest level ever, and it’s rising. People are saving less (3 percent of personal income versus 12 percent 50 years ago) and the debt-to-income ratio is going up (to 22 percent from 15 percent over the same time frame). Many culprits are responsible for this shift, and we can thank technology for making it easier than ever to spend money. Innovations like one-click checkout, browser credit-card storage, and Amazon Dash buttons are swiftly eliminating the roadblocks that stand in the way of people purchasing things. And while these innovations are certainly creating a future when one’s wants and needs can turn into stuff without interruption, it’s also altering how people think about spending and saving (or rather, failing to save) money.

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Smart speakers are becoming so popular, more people will use them than wearable tech products this year


Smart speaker users will reach 76.5 million by 2020, according to the latest eMarketer forecast.

The average smart speaker user is still an older, millennial male, but the devices are gaining traction with younger, Gen X women with kids.

Amazon Echo is the most popular, but is losing share. Google Home will likely slow Echo’s growth.

Smart speaker adoption has been so strong, US adult users will surpass wearable users this year.

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