Amazon wants to make your offline shopping experience a lot more contactless. The e-commerce company is introducing a new biometric technology that can identify you and verify your credit card purchases at stores by simply scanning your palm.
Called Amazon One, this technology will soon begin showing up in Amazon’s own retail stores — starting with two of the company’s Amazon Go outlets in Seattle.
However, Amazon says it’s planning to license the tech to third parties as well and expand beyond just contactless payments. With Amazon One, employees could, for instance, authenticate themselves into offices using their palms or customers could use their loyalty subscriptions at stores without the need to always physically carry the cards. Essentially, Amazon hopes to turn your palm into an all-encompassing ID system for all your cards and identification with Amazon One.
Amazon One will be available inside terminals at the entrance of stores and at payment counters. Once you have linked your palm with your credit card, you will be able to just wave your hand over this terminal to pay. Amazon says it looks for a number of unique identifiers of your palm and selects the most distinct ones to create what it calls a “palm signature.”
While most companies are experimenting with facial detection tech to authenticate people, Amazon says it picked palm recognition for privacy reasons as a person’s identity can’t be determined by looking at an image of their palm. On top of that, this process, unlike facial recognition, requires an intentional gesture from the shopper. Amazon adds that customers can also request to delete their palm signatures from Amazon One servers.
Amazon isn’t yet saying whether it has already secured any third-party partners. But its vice president of physical retail business, Dilip Kumar, in a blog post, wrote that the company is “in active discussions with several potential customers.”
“We believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores, so we also plan to offer the service to third parties like retailers, stadiums, and office buildings so that more people can benefit from this ease and convenience in more places,” he added.
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