The end of the cashier is near

Amazon Just Walk Out technology about to transform retail

Amazon has been developing, through its cashier-less stores, technology that accurately charges a customer for what they have taken from a store using sensors and cameras. Shoppers enter the store and scan an app, then simply walk out with their purchases. Receipts are optional via email. Amazon is now selling this technology to other stores, and it is expected to appear not only in shops, but in movie theater and baseball concession stands. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Isn’t it ironic. The company that took shopping online and wrecked retailers is now in a position to transform retail shopping and eliminate check out altogether. Even shoplifting will be transformed, as thieves and the goods they remove will be well documented by sensors and cameras. This is not the first time Amazon has taken an internal technology and licensed it to the public. The company’s own remote data center technology became the foundation for Amazon Web Services and its Software as a Service tools that it sells to thousands of customers, generating over $25 billion in revenues in 2018.

Health records opened: big win for consumers and Big Tech

In a move that took a decade and a village of healthcare companies and legislators, the Department of Health and Human Services cracked Epic System’s stranglehold on personal health records. Epic Systems, a company protected by a slow-to-change industry that is careful to safeguard privacy, effectively controlled electronic health record access and resisted Big Tech’s efforts to interface with health records for use with smartphones and health apps. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The health care system and its incumbents are right to insist on the highest level of data privacy and compliance with HIPPA, but enabling tech companies easier access to consumers’ health records will accelerate the creation of a transparent market with open pricing and clearer choices. To be able to shop for your next MRI or even compare costs of surgeries from place to place will rock the care industry, but will ultimately lead to more competition between care providers, a higher focus on service, and a more cost effective care system. Bring it on.

Ready to carry a password key?

Passwords suck. Many are not secure and remembering multiple passwords requires uncommon genius. A new security technology, called FIDO, is working on replacing passwords. FIDO requires a combination of a physical USB key and a biometric reader (fingerprint or facial recognition). FIDO apps on your smartphone, when tethered to a PC via Bluetooth, can serve as the physical key. FIDO is reported to be far more secure than any prior security method and, even better, is able to block spammer and phishing schemes. CNET

dis-rup-shun: It is a rare person that sits at a computer without their smartphone nearby, so FIDO could transform security without much hassle. Eliminating passwords that need to be complex and always different to be secure will be a great day. Most people still seem to carry keys, so adding one more for data access sounds like a reasonable possibility.

The Internet lives in a hotel in NYC

Wired goes inside one of the large Internet hotels where servers, switches, miles of cable, power plants and backup generators live under very tight security. Multiple hotels house interconnection of networks such as AT&T, Google and Verizon, enabling them to exchange data across their separate networks. The hotels house hundreds of servers, some which are owned by the networks, and some by their large clients.

dis-rup-shun: You will enjoy the photos that show how a click of a mouse can connect us to millions of data sources from around the world. The resources required to create the Internet are clean, yet massive. Huge amounts of power, cable, plastic sheathing and diesel fuel (for backup) are required to enable the high reliability network. The rapid growth of data will require ever more resources, pushing against the resource reductions delivered by the now sputtering Moore’s Law. The distributed nature of Internet hotels, however, provides effective protection from potential disasters.