Amazon’s Palm Payment Technology: Can it be The Next Standard Mode of Payment?
Amazon has recently introduced a payment device, Amazon One. This is new-age technology which will help the customers to shop hands-free. There are many opinions emerging on the credibility of this system. This article offers an overview of the technology.
Amazon, the biggest online shopping platform has come up with something quite innovative. Named as Amazon One- it is a contactless payment technology that turns the palm of the customer into a personal payment instrument.
This biometric technology enables the shoppers to make payment at physical Amazon stores by placing their palm over a scanning device at the time of their entrance and exit. It is a simple and easy process at the first glance. A quick flick of your chosen hand over the black scanner is all that is required. Rest is just magic! The store will then track the products that you picked up by an automated system and charge the credit card associated with that hand.
However, this palm scanner is a pre-existing technology. Recently in 2013, Fujitsu, the Japanese brand launched a laptop called Celsius H730 that has a feature of palm-based vein verification. The technology referred to as PalmSecure, works using near-IR rays. At the time of scanning, the veins appear black that provide laptop a unique pattern to authenticate the user.
How the Palm Payment Techology will Work?
As explained by Dr Basel Halak, the Director of the embedded systems and IoT program at the University of Southampton, the palm-based identification is created by capturing the patterns of veins in the palm. These vein patterns are different for each finger and for each person, and as they are hidden underneath the skin's surface, imitation becomes difficult.
The most important fact related to this technology is that this type of authentication process is safer than other forms of identifiers. As this form of biometric authentication is created on the basis of physical traits that remain unchanged throughout one's lifetime, it becomes more difficult to change, steal, or fake that identity.
No revelation has been made by Amazon about how the newly launched version of the technology will work. The company has made a remark that custom-built algorithms and hardware will be used in designing the device and diverse features on and below the surface of the hand will be scanned.
Palm recognition is a more private way than other options such as face recognition or finger impression. Another reason behind this preference includes the "intentional gesture" of hovering a palm over a sensor, and the contact-free nature, "which we think customers will appreciate, especially in current times" as stated in the Amazon blog by Dilip Kumar, the Vice President of Physical Retail & Technology at Amazon.
Has the Palm Payment Technology Risen any Concern about Data Security?
The palm payment technology will be definitely an effortless payment method. However, there could be a major concern related to the privacy of the consumer’s data as biometric data can be compromised. No one can deny the probability of a hacker stealing the data.
Mr. Kumar has stated in his blog that the company takes serious care of data security and privacy. There are long-standing policies in the company to treat any sensitive data. He has further assured that the Amazon One device has been designed with highly secure features. Multiple security controls are used in building the device. The images of the palm are encrypted and then sent to a highly secure custom-built cloud storage area.
Future Prospects of the Palm Payment Technology
The palm-scanning technology will be available in only two Amazon Go stores in Seattle for starters. However, with the numerous online retailers associated with the company, the technology can expect a bright and promising future. Many retailers and big techies have accepted that Amazon One has a great potential to become a standard form of payment or identification in the near future. As mentioned in the blog by Mr. Kumar, Amazon is planning to start selling the technology as a service to other businesses such as other big retail stores, stadiums with security requirements and corporate offices that require ID swaps to get in and out.
"I’m dubious of the investment in another payment terminal, or even a new POS/kiosk — when the technology capability is already in the pocket of most consumers."
- David Leibowitz, Worldwide Director, Industry Strategy, Microsoft
"Anyone who has struggled to unlock their iPhone while wearing a facemask will realize that this has potential."
- Oliver GuySenior Director Industry Solutions, Software AG
"This type of sensor avoids the perceived challenges with anonymous facial recognition but is also ADA friendly. The problem, however, is Amazon." –
- Laura DavisTaylor, Chief Strategy Officer, InReality
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