Amazon Patents that have yet to see the light of day, and what they could mean for Ecommerce

Amazon is all about innovation and what better way to be innovative than to create something that helps you be more productive. Amazon is no stranger to new inventions and ideas. In March 2018, Amazon owned 7,717 US patents. That isn’t to say all of these patents will come to fruition. In fact, most of them have been patented but there is no intention to ever create them. Amazon thrives on reinvention and files a multitude of patents yearly, each is an attempt to provide better service for consumers or the marketplace. Here are 5 Amazon patents that have yet to be implemented and what that might mean for the marketplace if they are.

  1. Floating Airship Warehouse (2014)/Drone hives (2015) – The thought of a flying blimp-like warehouse didn’t come out of thin air (if you pardon the pun). As soon as 2013, when Bezos revealed to the world that he saw the future of delivery through Unmanned Air Vehicles, Amazon went drone-crazy. The thought of a flying blimp warehouse was just one of the wacky ideas Amazon discussed in terms of where the drones would receive their orders from. Another legislated patent was drone hives, a beehive-like structure to house Amazon’s drones in urban areas. Both these ideas would have made delivery faster, more efficient and more convenient. A major issue with Amazon’s fulfilment centres is that they these huge warehouses take up a lot of space so they are never found directly in the centre of major urban areas. This has an impact on the speed and efficiency of Amazon’s customer service. By creating ideas to counter this issue such as an Avengers SHIELD-like Helicarrier that can watch fly above these areas or a smaller hub for its drones, Amazon can have a much more sought after customer satisfaction and avoid major costs. The design of these patents would also provide Amazon with a lot of publicity and would be implicitly memorable in that they would be viewed almost always especially if in the sky.
  2. Surveillance drones as a service (2015) – Perhaps the most well-known patent recently, Amazon intends to use their drone service to also provide security to registered accounts. They claim that “Geo-clipped surveillance images may be limited to authorized property, so privacy is ensured for private persons and property.” By providing delivery and also utilising them to check for signs of break-ins for enrolled houses, Amazon can provide an extra service for their customers built upon an already successful concept. This also provides higher customer satisfaction.
  3. Personal mini drones (2015) – Continuing with the drone theme, Amazon also intended to create mini-drones for customers. These personal bots would most likely be targeted at emergency services and would be used to locate things such as lost children, fires or help with tactical situations. These mini PAs would be voice activated and would be small enough to attach to your clothing. Moreover, these drones would, if proven useful, be sold as another service to buy such as Alexa. Just like Alexa, customers could talk to the drone and it will do as commanded for example, guide you to your car in a car park or find your lost keys before you left the house. This service would also prove useful for Amazon themselves within their warehouses, to find specific items or generally help their FC workers in day-to-day duties. This would once again make FC distribution faster and more efficient.
  4. Real time Accent Translator (2016) – I am certain that we have all been in a situation where someone’s heavy accent has made it incredibly difficult for us to understand them and vice-versa. This is exactly what Amazon’s accent translator is meant to be used for. Audio is analysed through a database of accents and your voice will be translated into their accent and you will receive their voice in your accent. This would make conducting international businesses or sourcing products much more easier as language barriers would be less of a struggle as long as both parties can speak English. Amazon is in a perfect position to make this idea into reality as they have the resources to make it happen. Alexa is a worldwide device that has created a database of voice samples with a plethora of accents already. Implementing the same software that makes Alexa so adept in understanding consumer commands could mean we might see a version of this translator in the near future. 
  5. A mirror that dresses you in VR (2015) – Amazon has proven that they can take on the fashion world with their innovative ideas but none more than this blended-reality mirror. The mirror lets users try on virtual clothes before buying them online. This ultimately creates an instant version of trying before buying an Amazon product increasing customer satisfaction and reducing customer returns. Amazon’s acquisition of Body Labs, a true to life 3D body modelling business, in 2017 suggested Amazon might have begun looking into VR mirrors. However, it is unlikely that we will see these mirrors any time soon but the idea behind this patent can be evidently seen on Amazon’s app through View your room and their soon to be released Virtual Mannequin sections. With the access of VR and AR on mobile, the need for a stationary VR mirror is not needed. No one needs to visit specific places to stand in front of expensive technology when they can access it through a device in their pocket.