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Rather it was the deliberate effort of engineers Benjamin Black, Chris Pinkham and their team of developers who recognized the potential for standardized, virtual infrastructure that anyone could use. But the teams required a set of common infrastructure instead of rebuilding expensive things like database and storage capacity every time. After the engineers explored the idea with Bezos in , he later approved the service as a business unit in its own right.
It soon became so.
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The service first reached customers by , and was officially launched in the summer of Today AWS is on a tear. That may not last forever. Although Amazon maintains a big lead, as cloud services become commodified, its domination and profits may dwindle. The company rents out use of its servers and software for others to use, including AI like image and voice recognition. Not only does this make Amazon attractive to startups that might want to spend money on engineers or sales positions, rather than server racks, but it also means Amazon now has virtually unlimited computational power to develop and launch its own AI products and services.
For instance, Amazon can host its virtual voice assistant, Alexa, handling the deluge of incoming requests.
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In , Amazon launched one of its first forays into consumer technology: the Kindle e-reader. Based on revolutionary e-paper technology, the device provided a far better approximation of reading a book than any screen before it has. Amazon has sold millions of Kindle readers, and over the years, has expanded its brand to include Kindle Fire tablets and smartphones.
The lab had been working on an augmented-reality product that used voice activation to control it.
As Bloomberg reported , that product never saw the light of day, but the voice technology was ported into the Echo, a speaker that can control internet-of-things devices, order you an Uber, or play your favorite songs on Spotify, all enacted by, Alexa, a built-in voice assistant. The Echo has likely sold millions of units , and has spurred a whole range of new voice-controlled devices, including a smaller Echo Dot, the Echo Look, with built-in cameras that can be used for selfies and fashion advice, and the Echo Show, which features a small touchscreen display.
With the Echo, it effectively created the smart-speaker market that it now dominates, alongside the Google Home, and likely inspired Apple to produce the forthcoming HomePod, a similar, albeit triply expensive, speaker. An often-overlooked piece of hardware that Amazon has started to roll out is the Dash button.
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One-touch ordering, no logging in required. Alexa, the Dash button, Fire tablets, Fire —they all accomplish the same goal, which is always keeping Amazon. Operating in an industry where even the illusion of innovation is applauded—and any whiff of an innovation drought is cause for alarm—Amazon lets its imagination run wild with ideas of drastically reinventing industries.
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What if your packages dropped from the sky? Amazon can be credited with killing the physical bookstore, but could it reinvent the brick-and-mortar storefront for groceries? The company is currently running a beta test of Amazon Go, a store that uses cameras and sensors throughout the store to automatically track what a customer has picked out, and automatically charges them as they leave.
However, reports suggest the beta store has trouble keeping track of multiple people in the store. Amazon is also working on reducing the friction between ordering a product and having it show up on your doorstep. US regulations prohibit autonomous drones flying beyond the line of sight of a human pilot, so Amazon has been doing the bulk of its testing in the UK, and in December, delivered its first order to an actual customer in the Cambridgeshire countryside.
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Amazon is a brutal competitor but it has so far largely evaded antitrust scrutiny because in crippling competing businesses, it has also made life better for consumers. The tactic drove customers away from traditional publishers and helped Amazon gain a controlling share of online book sales. It happened similarly with diapers. In May , Amazon opened up its sophisticated AI technology as a cloud platform.
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Ultimately, the retail giant wants to create a system that can make get better at predicting products based on lesser data and of course products that customers are more likely to click on and buy. Netflix has worked hard to ensure its recommendation algorithms can highlight as much of its content library as possible.
The savings produced by the Netflix algorithm, show up through increased viewership and lower churn.
Strong recommendations also increase the number of time viewers watch content on Netflix keeping subscriber churn as low as possible. Realizing the importance of having the best recommendation engine, Netflix puts a lot of effort into optimizing its algorithm.
Updates to the algorithms are researched and tested by a team of over 70 engineers. The Netflix Prize was an important event in the development of content discovery systems — shining a light on recommendation engine technology, and bringing new machine learning scientists to the topic. Last December, Netflix again revamped the technology behind its content recommendation engine - deciding to do away with region-based preferences in light of their ongoing global expansion. To work well, the software needs massive data sets to crunch.
In a region-based approach to personalized suggestions, Netflix faced this issue with every new territory launch - with this update, Netflix can start to scale the engine on a global level.