Amazon is reportedly working on a smart refrigerator that could track stored food and make it easier to order items through the company’s ecosystem. To turn this idea into reality, the e-commerce giant apparently plans to leverage some of the technology already used in its Amazon Go cashierless stores.

Is there anything that’s not set to become “smart”? From watches and glasses to bath mats and refrigerators… Indeed, according to BusinessInsider sources, Amazon is working on a smart fridge capable of tracking the food stored inside and quickly reordering more when stocks run out. Its code name is Project Pulse.

The idea of a smart refrigerator certainly isn’t new, since Samsung already has one on the market. But Samsung’s version does not benefit from one major asset: Amazon’s wider ecosystem.

Project Pulse is being built by the same team as Amazon Go, the American giant’s autonomous, cashierless supermarket chain. According to reports, more than US$50mil (RM209mil) a year is being dedicated to the project’s development, which has been ongoing for a little over two years now. To make the fridge smart, the device would feature several cameras inside which, thanks to computer recognition technology, would be able to track what’s stored inside. However, it’s as yet unclear whether or not items could be shipped and billed directly from a user’s Amazon account.

Finding new ways into consumers’ daily lives

The proposed technology could also allow the device to monitor a user’s buying habits and make suggestions, again raising questions about the influence that Amazon continues to have on our consumption habits. Notifications are then sent to inform the user about missing products. Another possible use is that the refrigerator could suggest recipes using ingredients with upcoming expiry dates to help reduce food waste. Meanwhile, orders could potentially be made directly from Whole Foods, an Amazon-owned company specializing in the sale of organic products.

According to BusinessInsider, Amazon does not intend to manufacture these refrigerators itself, but is instead seeking a partner. Regarding price, there’s no doubt that this fridge will be expensive, primarily targeting high-income households and users keen on embracing an increasingly futuristic lifestyle. Of course, if and when the fridge is on the market, prices will eventually drop.

Note, however, that Amazon has not officially announced anything about this project. In other words, it could be cancelled at any time if it becomes too complicated to set up or too expensive for consumers. Still, there’s no doubt that Amazon is continuing to explore ways to track our consumption habits and to get closer and closer to its customers, inevitably tying them into the Amazon ecosystem. – AFP Relaxnews



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