Amazon, iRobot and data

Amazon, iRobot and data
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

On Friday, Amazon announced it was buying iRobot for US$1.7 billion. You probably know iRobot from their signature autonomous vacuum, the Roomba. Experts say that Amazon can probably reduce their logistics costs a bit, as well as some of its sales, marketing, and administrative costs, and at the end of the day, it’ll turn a bit of a profit.

But the thing about Amazon is that while they sell lots of items, they’re also really interested in your data. The more data they get, the more effectively they can do all the different things they do to make money. This is from advertising items (and selling them) to shoppers to making its supply chains more efficient.

So with the Roomba, it looks like a big goal here is also collecting data inside your house. This is especially because, during a 2017 Reuters interview, iRobot’s CEO Colin Angle said that the company might someday share that data with tech giants developing smart devices and gadgets.

We’re not talking about listening in on your private phone calls, though, but more along the lines of mapping your house. You see, there’s a lot of information to be gained from that. For example, a relatively big house is one where perhaps more expensive items can be marketed to. A house without much furniture can get ads for some, and a house with a lot of dog toys in it means that those family members might be seeing more dog chow on their suggested items list when doing a bit of shopping online.