[Editor’s Note: Always be sure that any dog off leash is in an enclosed area to ensure safety.]
Amazon Prime issued a new, ridiculously cute and sweet commercial online about 3 hours ago. I didn’t realize I could feel this many emotions on a Monday morning. It is sure to warm your heart and I hope this will help ease you into your workweek.
Still have a case of the Mondays? Shake it off with some of our other favorite hilarious and heartwarming commercials >>
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Parler still working on return to app store after Apple rejection
Forget the titanium Apple Card — Amazon’s latest payment method uses flesh and blood.
The e-tailing giant’s engineers are quietly testing scanners that can identify an individual human hand as a way to ring up a store purchase, with the goal of rolling them out at its Whole Foods supermarket chain in the coming months, The Post has learned.
Employees at Amazon’s New York offices are serving as guinea pigs for the biometric technology, using it at a handful of vending machines to buy such items as sodas, chips, granola bars and phone chargers, according to sources briefed on the plans.
The high-tech sensors are different from fingerprint scanners found on devices like the iPhone and don’t require users to physically touch their hands to the scanning surface.
Instead, they use computer vision and depth geometry to process and identify the shape and size of each hand they scan before charging a credit card on file.
The system, code-named “Orville,” will allow customers with Amazon Prime accounts to scan their hands at the store and link them to their credit or debit card.
It’s accurate to within one ten-thousandth of 1%, but Amazon engineers are scrambling to improve it to a millionth of 1% ahead of its launch, the source said.
Amazon hopes to introduce the tech to a handful of its Whole Foods stores by the beginning of next year and to eventually expand the super-fast checkout tech to all US locations. The pace of the rollout will depend on how quickly Whole Foods is able to install it and train employees on how to use it, sources said.
Amazon’s facial recognition flags 1 in 5 California lawmakers as criminals
“We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
While a regular card transaction typically takes between three and four seconds, Amazon’s new technology can process the charge in less than 300 milliseconds, a person familiar with the project said.
“Retailers have always been interested in faster checkout,” Majd Maksad, founder and CEO of Status Money, a personal finance site, told The Post. “You only have to walk into Whole Foods to see the massive lines of people waiting to check out. It’s a massive friction point.”
If successful, the technology also could help encourage consumers to spend more when they visit Whole Foods, he said.
“People tend to spend more when they don’t have the experience of touching something tangible like money,” Maksad said. “The utility of money becomes more ephemeral.”
At Amazon’s budding chain of “Go” convenience stores that launched last year, customers use a phone app to check in at a turnstile. They can then fill their bags and carry them out without ever passing a register thanks to computer vision and an array of sensors all over the store.
With the new, hand-based tech, shoppers won’t even have to bring their phones. Nevertheless, experts say it’s unclear whether customers will be enthusiastic about scanning their hands at Whole Foods.
Stephanie Hare, an independent researcher who specializes in technology ethics, noted that countries with robust surveillance programs like China already use biometric checkouts in some stores and noted that Amazon appears to have made a decision to not use facial recognition.
“I think they probably made a judgment call that Americans are probably not going to want to pay with their face, but they’ll be fine to pay with their fingerprint or their hand,” she said. “That feels less like a mug shot.”
Consumers should avoid giving up their biometric data, Hare says, pointing out that, if a company gets hacked, it can take six or more years for consumers to unwind the data theft.
“Why would you give them that data? People don’t understand the risk, and they’re oversold the benefits,” she said. “We have a couple of nation states that are really good at stealing data right now.”
How Does Amazon Do It? Five Critical Factors That Explain Amazon's Incredible Success
Jeff Bezos, Amazon Go, Amazon delivery boxes, Amazon pickup lockers.
With Amazon edging towards becoming the world's first trillion-dollar company, fresh attention is being paid to the factors that could derail its growth. The company slowed a bit this quarter, sending the stock down eleven percent.
Nevertheless, this downtick should not distract from the reality that Amazon has emerged as the new model of innovation effectiveness. They are something new in the innovation realm. They have moved so fast for so long, implemented so many new product, process and business model innovations, that their playbook is suddenly the standard by which every company must measure itself against, or get left behind.
Amazon is the new model going forward.
Through trial and error, booms and busts, Amazon has evolved a set of guiding principles and cultural practices to keep its growth machine humming. These involve delighting customers, crushing competitors one by one, hollowing out retail sectors, and disrupting industry after industry, from bookselling to online retailing to personal electronics, and from web services and software to healthcare and beyond.
In reviewing the company’s rise from a converted Seattle garage in 1994, I've gone looking for the practices responsible for Amazon's incredible success. Here are five that stand out:
1. Amazon Drives Innovation from the Top
Surveys show that 79 percent of senior leaders consider innovation as one of their top three priorities. Yet day-to-day, what often consumes senior management's attention is the “delivery engine,” rather than the “discovery engine.” Not at Amazon.
Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has figured out how to spend the bulk of his calendar on innovation. He delegates to trusted lieutenants the implementation of ideas. Bezos spends most of his time examining how the world will look three, five and 10 years out. He is focused on baking in results for the third quarter two years from now. He sees his job as identifying and refining the Innovation Roadmap that will take the company from where it is today to where he wills it to be in the future, on time and on schedule.
2. Amazon Thinks of Ideas as Assets
Most companies think of their assets as being things like their plants, equipment, and yes, their people . Amazon also places an asset value on ideas. Bezos is the ideator in chief. His zest for unconventional concepts, for enabling technologies, and for better ways of operating, is infectious. “I could fill this whiteboard in an hour with 100 ideas,” Bezos boasted to one interviewer, and there is little reason to doubt him.
Bezos believes that a continuous stream of ideas is what fuels growth. He sees his function as creating the cultural alignment to value and respect ideas at all levels, and act with a sense of urgency to speed their implementation. Bezos sees his role as channeling this “opportunity mindset” to every individual, department, business unit, and outpost.
Like a coach drilling his team on the fundamentals, Bezos reminds his people of the simple principles that have made the company great.
Three maxims have been there from the beginning: think longer term, obsess over the customer, and be willing to invent. They are as relevant today as ever. And while Bezos has toned down the red meat competitive rhetoric, behind the scenes he’s said to be every bit the hungry hunter who once coined the phrase, “Your margin is my opportunity.”
In recent months, Bezos has admitted that he is concerned about creeping complacency. Thus his renewed emphasis on “Day 1 Thinking”—the full throttle attack mode of the startup it once was. Asked what Day 2 might look like, he almost seemed to be thinking of Sears, one of many companies he has vanquished. He defined Day 2 as: "stasis, followed by irrelevance, followed by excruciating decline and death."
“The outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won’t or can’t embrace powerful trends quickly,” he added. “If you fight them, you’re fighting the future. Embrace them and you have a tailwind.”
3. Move First, Experiment Constantly, and Fail Fast
With zero background in hardware, Amazon waded bravely into electronic devices with its Kindle e-reader in 2007. Everyone advised against it. Numerous setbacks and hurdles cropped up. But Kindle proved a game-changer and a confidence builder. From this wildly-successful foray, the company realized it could learn new skills if it was willing to assault assumptions. Amazon went on to pioneer the smart speaker category with Echo, and its Alexa device has 30,000 skills, mostly from third-party developers, who are building more applications all the time. Competitors are scrambling to catch-up.
Amazon values experiments. A lot. Its website is a giant petri dish, experimenting constantly with pricing a/b tests, customization trials, recommendation algorithms and more. Amazon uses its hometown as a test market to gain consumer insights and feedback, and work out the kinks in new business models, before expanding or quietly killing off ideas that don’t have promise to scale.
To observe how it prototypes and debugs new physical concepts, Seattle is the place to visit.
You’ll want to explore Amazon Go, the company’s new automated convenience stores, which are pioneering the use of artificial intelligence and an array of overhead video cameras to revolutionize convenience store retailing. Next, head over to the Bitter Lake neighborhood, where you’ll find an Amazon storefront just opened so customers can pick up and return packages. Driving around, you’re bound to come across an AmazonFresh delivery truck, the result of five years of testing in the razor-thin margin grocery business. And be sure to pop into Amazon's first physical bookstore, which opened in Seattle in 2015, and is now expanding nationwide.
Amazon’s willingness to move first, to test, and yes to fail (witness Amazon Fire the firm’s disastrous foray into smartphones) have transformed it into not just an online retailer, but a movie studio, a hardware company, a grocer, or a web services provider – but an idea factory. The key is monetization.
While Google and other firms spend billions researching artificial intelligence and machine learning, Amazon is interested in monetizing artificial intelligence and applying it in every aspect of the organization. Amazonians are on the lookout for AI applications they can place inside products, use to enhance services, and install in physical locations. The company will often invent something or develop some new capability for its own needs, only to find that it can monetize that invention for others.
4. Amazon Practices Data-Driven, Customer-Led Innovation
Amazon not only pioneers new devices and business models, but it also pioneers new approaches to the practice of innovation itself. One example might be called “data-driven, customer-led innovation.”
Apple wunderkind Steve Jobs never used focus groups or surveys to unearth consumer insights or tell him he was on the right track. Instead, he used an informed intuition to dream up “insanely great products” that consumers love. Summarizing this approach, he famously remarked: “It’s not our customers’ job to tell us what they will want next -- that’s our job.”
Amazon has a different take. They operate from the belief that you can listen to customers through the data. They believe that if you’re simulating and building models and milking the data, you can let customers lead you to insanely great offerings by divining what the data suggests they will want before they even see it.
“We let customers steer us,” said Jeff Wilke, at the New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, California. “We try to invent something they would love.”
Amazon has artificial intelligence engineers embedded in every business unit, every team, every region, and every warehouse. And they use data to drive faster, more accurate opportunity creation. Amazon innovators are taught to constantly ask themselves: what does the data tell us about what customers might want next?
5. Amazon Promulgates a Clear-Thinking, Risk-Taking Culture
At Amazon, going along to get along is not a virtue. Heated debates often break out over what to measure. Creative tension, rather than laid-back harmoniousness, is believed to spur the best thinking.
“There’s an incredible amount of challenging [each other],” one former market researcher told Forbes contributor George Anders. “You want to have absolute certainty about what you are saying. If you can stand a barrage of questions, then you have [probably] picked the right metric. But you’d better have your stuff together.”
At many companies, would-be innovators must garner dozens of yeses before pursuing an idea. A single “no” can derail. At Amazon, no single manager has the right to kill an idea. The company is structured such that hundreds of managers can green-light an idea, at least to the next stage of development.
At Amazon, a high potential idea must meet three criteria: it must be original and not “me too.” It must be scalable. And it must have the potential to produce a significant return on capital.
The company constantly experiments with new thinking methods.
One example, introduced by Bezos, is known loosely as The Narrative. Before making decisions on high-investment initiatives, senior team meetings start with a period of silent reading of a memo that Bezos has commissioned. Bezos is particular about how the [up to] six-page narrative is composed. “It must have topic sentences, verbs, and clear thinking throughout,” Bezos insists. Then, he and his senior team convene and pour over the memo for up to 30 minutes, scribbling questions, preparing for an oral discussion of the merits of the idea.
“For new employees, it’s a strange initial experience,” Bezos admits. “They’re just not accustomed to sitting silently in a room doing study hall with a bunch of executives.” Strange yes, but powerful as well.
And just one more way in which Amazon innovates how it innovates.
These Realistic Robotic Pets That Help Seniors With Dementia Have Rave Reviews on Amazon
Your elderly parents can comfort, cuddle, and care for these lifelike cats and dogs.
Without a doubt, the hardest thing about getting older is watching the people you love get older, too. Your aging parents or loved ones deserve to spend their remaining years with as much love and warmth as possible, especially if they are battling an illness.
That's why, over the last few years, pet companions have become so popular, particularly for older adults who are feeling lonely or have dementia. In fact, a 2017 study revealed that the interaction between aging adults and animals — whether real or robotic — can help lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, reduce feelings of loneliness, and improve overall quality of life. Some nursing homes even offer pet therapy for dementia patients to ease any unintended agitation and aggression.
For these very reasons, more than 1,300 Amazon shoppers have left five-star reviews for Ageless Innovation's Joy for All Companion Pets. Perfect for dog or cat lovers, these plush animals have built-in sensors, "vibrapurr" or "barkback" technology, and brushable fur, making them surprisingly realistic. In other words, they look, feel, and sound exactly like the pets that your loved ones grew up with (minus the litter box or backyard cleanup). Insert four batteries, and the cats, which come in four different shades to mimic real breeds, can open and close their eyes, lift their paws, and move their head and body. If you pet them in the right spot — like on their belly or back side — they'll let out a "purr."
If your loved one is more of a dog person, you can also buy a stuffed golden puppy, accessorized with a red bandana, that will bark if he's feeling happy, sad, or needy. At only four pounds, the stuffed pup is easy to play with and won't weigh down even the most fragile frame.
Although the price of Ageless Innovation's toy is steeper than other stuffed animals on the market, the glowing reviews prove that these lifelike robotic pets are worth every penny, especially if you're gifting them to a loved one with pet allergies or dementia. "My family recently had to place my mom in a nursing home for long term care. She has dementia and my 88-year-old father could no longer care for her. We worried about the time she would spend there when no one was visiting or during the periods of time with no activities. Because of this, I got her one of these cats. I am happy to say that this was one of the best purchases I have ever made. It is truly remarkable what this cat can do. It is very lifelike and although my mother knows it isn't real, she enjoys it nonetheless," one Amazon shopper wrote.
This A.I.-powered collar translates your dog’s barks and body language
Have you ever wondered what your pet is trying to tell you? This collar may hold the answer. It’s one of the more intriguing pet-specific gadgets at CES 2021. CES has always been packed with pet-products that make caring for your pet more convenient, but few have had the potential impact of Petpuls’ A.I.-powered smart collar.
This collar uses voice recognition technology to detect and track five different emotional states. It analyzes the tone and pitch of your dog’s bark to tell you whether your pup feels happy, anxious, angry, sad, or relaxed — it’s just missing “squirrel.” If you are getting Up vibes, you aren’t alone.
The analysis device is attached to a collar. It pairs through Wi-Fi with an iOS or Android app to give you a readout of what your pet is “saying.” In addition to tracking mood, Petpuls also includes an accelerometer to track your dog’s activity and better manage diet. Think of it like a FitBit for your dog. The range is only around 15 feet, but your phone will pair whenever you come back in range.
It also measures rest. Dogs sleep an average of 14 hours per day and bark, in total, for less than one. Sleep is a critical part of your dog’s health, so measuring how much rest your pup gets — in addition to the tone of its voice — will help you better care for your four-legged friend.
The A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) technology uses an algorithm to determine mood, along with a database of more than 10,000 bark samples from over 50 breeds of dogs. As your pup’s voice data accumulates, Petpuls becomes more accurate. The research and testing was done by Seoul National University and gives Petpuls an Emotional Recognition Accuracy Rate of more than 80%.
Petpuls is IP54 water-resistant, so take it off when bathing your pet, but a little rain won’t hurt it. It can operate between eight and 10 hours on a single charge, so it’s a good idea to recharge it nightly.
Small collars are available for $99, with additional straps available for $20. Large collars are available for $108, with additional straps available for $25. Petpuls comes in five colors: Orange, blue, green, hot pink, and turquoise. You can purchase the device through Petpuls’ website.