Amazon testing unmanned delivery drones

Lydia Morfett-Murdock our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 5/3/2016 8:03 AM

Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, is testing unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos says.

The drones, called Octocopters, could deliver packages weighing up to 2.3kg to customers within 30 minutes of them placing the order, he said.

However, he added that it could take up to five years for the service to start.

The US Federal Aviation Administration is yet to approve the use of unmanned drones for civilian purposes.

"I know this looks like science fiction, but it's not," Mr Bezos told CBS television's 60 Minutes programme.

"We can do half-hour delivery... and we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds (2.3kg), which covers 86% of the items that we deliver."

'Ready to enter'

The service will be called Prime Air and comes as Amazon is looking to improve its efficiency to boost growth.

Amazon also posted a video on its website showing a drone picking up a package from one of its warehouses and delivering it to the doorstep of a customer's house.

However, it still has to wait for permission from US regulators.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the use of drones for police and government agencies, issuing about 1,400 permits over the past several years.

Civilian air space is expected to be opened up to all kinds of drones in the US by 2015 and in Europe by 2016.

Existing regulations are in place to minimize the risk of injury to people on the ground, said Dr Darren Ansell, an expert on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from the University of Central Lancashire.

"The UAVs do not currently have the awareness of their environment to be able to avoid flying into people. To deliver goods to people's homes for example in residential areas, the UAVs must overfly densely populated towns and cities, something that today's regulations prevent.

"Other things to consider are security of the goods during the transit. With no one to guard them the aircraft and package could be captured and stolen," he said.

Amazon said: "from a technology point of view, we'll be ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place."

The FAA was "actively working on rules for unmanned aerial vehicles", the company said, adding that it hoped the green light would be given as early as 2015.

"One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today."

Zookal, an Australian textbook rental company, announced earlier this year that it would start using drones to make deliveries from 2015 if approved by Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Australian law allows the use of unmanned aircraft for commercial use.


Click here for the article on the web.

Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

Marketing Analytics - Then, Now & In the Future: A Q&A with Sarah Nooravi

We recently spoke to Sarah Nooravi, an Analytics professional with a specialism in Marketing who was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Analytics.  Sarah found herself working in Analytics after being attracted to the culture, creativity and the opportunity to be challenged. Having spent the first four years of her career working within the Marketing space, she has seen a real transition in the way that Analytics and Data Science has informed Marketing decisioning.  “I started my career in a Marketing agency within the entertainment industry, at the time it was doing things that most of the entertainment industry hadn’t considered doing yet”.  At the start of her career she’d meet entertainment giants with advertising budgets of millions of dollars who were, at the time, making mostly gut decisions with how to approach campaigns. “It was common that I’d hear, ‘I think our audience is females over the age of 35 with a particular interest and we should just target them’” she expands.  However, agencies quickly recognised the need for something more Data-driven. Entertainment businesses were going too narrow and were misunderstanding their audiences. The next step was to embed into these businesses the insights from a greater variety of sources, including social media, and to introduce more testing. That translated into a better media buying strategy that could be continuously optimised. It was a big step forward in the utilisation of Data within this realm and its clear focus on ROI.  Suddenly, the market was changing, “There was a massive spike of agencies popping up and claiming to leverage Data Science and Machine Learning to provide better optimisations for entertainment companies, mobile gaming – you name it. There was a huge momentum shift from using these gut decisions to leveraging agencies that could prove that”.  What she saw next seemed only natural, with more agencies offering Data-driven optimisation, companies looked to develop this capability internally. Sarah elaborates; “Now I am seeing these companies starting to take ownership of their own media buying and bringing the Marketing and Data Science in-house”. This shift in-house has been propelled by the major players, companies like Facebook, Google and Nooravi’s own company, Snapchat, working directly with companies to help them optimise their campaigns. This shift has changed the landscape of Marketing Analytics, specifically within the advertising space. Sarah explains, “You no longer need an agency to optimise your, for example, Facebook campaigns, because Facebook will do it for you. They are minimising the number of people behind the campaigns. You give up a little of your company’s Data for a well optimised campaign and you don’t have to hire a media buyer. There is definitely a movement now to becoming more Data-driven. Companies are really leveraging A/B tests and also testing out different creatives”.  It is this change in strategy that is seemingly taking the Marketing Analytics challenge to the next level. With opportunities to pinpoint specific audiences, companies are using their Data to understand how to approach their content, take the opportunity to experiment, and to find out what it takes to resonate with their audience. Sarah has seen the potential of this first hand: “We are starting to see a lot of AR and VR. There are meaningful ways to engage with technology to connect with the world. Moving forward, content will have to become more engaging. People’s attention spans are becoming shorter and with each decision someone makes it is changing the direction of content in the future. There has been a massive shift from static images to video advertisement and, more recently, from video into interactive video like playable adverts. People want to engage with adverts in order to understand a company’s message”.  It is within this space that she sees a gap for the future of ROI positive advertising:  “The biggest issue that I find with the creative and the content is that the value add is missing. The resonance with the brand or company, their values and mission is what is missing. Analytics alone cannot fix that. You need to understand what the company stands for, people want to connect with brands because of what they stand for – whatever it is. Especially in a time like we are dealing with right now, a pandemic, advertising spending has gone down. However, maybe there is a way to properly message to people that would resonate. Not that you want them to buy your stuff but maybe right now is the perfect time to do outreach and to help people understand your brand”. The ability to understand and predict customer behaviour is evolving, but with that, so is the customer. Whereas at the moment, you can build out experiments, you can create models that will be able to, as Sarah explains, “in real-time decide whether a user’s behaviour is indicative of one that is going to churn” and then try and create offers to increase retention.   This is the challenge of the current analytics professional – our behaviours in a global pandemic have shifted consumers into a new world. Now working for Snap Inc, she sees the potential of this from a new perspective. Naturally, like most social media channels and communication technologies, they have seen an increase in usage over the last month.  “People are wanting to communicate more as we are forced to social distance. However, we are seeing different regions engaging a lot more heavily. For example, it's Ramadan right now, people want to share those moments with one another and at the moment the way that they are having to do that is changing”.  So, it will be a question for all those required to predict behaviours to determine how many of these new lines of communication, these new habits, will have evolved. Once people are out of quarantine, are they going to continue to utilise the apps, games, social channels in the same way that they are currently? It certainly is going to be something that many within the marketing analytics space will be trying to forecast.  If you’re looking to take your next step in Marketing Analytics, or are looking to build out your team, Harnham may be able to help.  Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

The More You Keep Customers Long-Term, The Better Your Business Will Do: A Q&A with Corin Rogerson

"I like thinking about how customers experience things and how you’re able to effectively tailor your business to them." We recently had the opportunity to speak with Corin Rogerson, a CRM Specialist and customer champion to discuss all things CRM.  Beginning in the digital space she has taken her holistic overview of customer experience with her throughout her career and built CRM programmes for some of the biggest brands on the market. So how has CRM changed during this time and where does she see it going?  As we see a general trend towards digital first businesses, online platforms and integrated apps it goes without saying that CRM is having to follow suit. For Corin, potentially one of the biggest changes driven by this is this marketing technology landscape:  “I think the main thing I’ve seen is when I first started in CRM there were lots of tools that were offering the ability to communicate with someone through one channel […] and now what I’m quite pleased to see is that some companies are building solutions from the ground up.” This shift from bolted together CRM/ESP’s to streamlined platforms offering the opportunity to build multi-touchpoint journeys now makes it far easier to build synchronised customer experiences.  Hand in hand with technology is the ever-increasing presence of data in decision making, and a growing factor in successful CRM: "A few years ago everyone was talking about Big Data, and there are more tools able to process that data now". But within this is the value that Data can bring bought about through "thinking about the Data that is actually important to you and what you can actually use, rather than just pushing everything in."  But simply having the Data there isn’t enough to immediately achieve results and one of the biggest issues Corin has faced is around data latency and the impact this has on communication:  “In the past if you had Data in 24 hours that was perfectly fine, but now you really need to know virtually in real time what a customer has done to communicate with them effectively […] for instance if a customer’s payment details have expired and there is a lag between them updates and an email going out it can be a really confusing communication.”  However, that doesn’t mean that Data hasn’t played a large part in her successes. Customer Data has huge ties to personalisation (another noteworthy trend in the CRM space) and is often the best way to demonstrate the value a customer has to a business as shown through Corin’s biggest successes:  “Where I’ve been really successful in a company or working on individual projects is always where the CRM team works really closely with the Data team. Over time you can put in really intelligent campaigns.”  So, what is the importance of CRM in today’s climate?  Having experienced the power of CRM across businesses at different stages of their journey CRM is ultimately really important for growth. In the case of start-ups “the focus is very much on acquisition and that is partly because of the priorities in early life” but no matter the size of the business “it’s very expensive to acquire a new customer”. As such, Corin suggests bringing in a CRM team and shifting towards a culture of retention over rapid acquisition as soon as possible:  “As soon as you bring a CRM team on boards […] you can start looking at your existing customer base and seeing how likely they are to repeat purchase […] the more you keep those customers long term, the better your business will do.” Her biggest pet peeve linked to CRM and growth? Data: “There’s nothing more frustrating than not having the right Data available”. Although the overriding advice is ASAP, it’s with the caveat of an adequate Data infrastructure to allow for the insights to be leveraged.  It feels uncomfortable not to acknowledge the elephant in the room and the impact COVID-19 has had on how brands market to customers:  “When the pandemic hit a lot of businesses had to take a step back and think, what are our values, what is our proposition and how can we help people in context to the pandemic.” In an ideal world this would then feed into the CRM team yet we’ve all experienced “empty examples of communications from companies who feel they have to say something about it […] and it doesn’t work, and I think it actually does damage to the brand." Corin’s advice on this? "If I was in a CRM team that is what I would be thinking about. Making sure communication is relevant, it’s useful and it’s something that you will then be remembered for when everything is over.” If you’re looking for an opportunity in the world of CRM, or to build your Customer Insight team, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more. 

RELATED Jobs

Salary

£35000 - £50000 per annum + bonus and benefits

Location

Birmingham, West Midlands

Description

A start-up active wear brand are seeking a Customer Insight Analyst in Birmingham..

Salary

£35000 - £90000 per annum + bonus and benefits

Location

Richmond upon Thames, London

Description

A marketplace ecommercce brand are seeking a Product Analytics Manager.

Salary

£35000 - £50000 per annum + bonus and benefits

Location

Slough, Berkshire

Description

A telecoms giant are seeking a Customer Analyst- £50,000

recently viewed jobs