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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Amazon Is Developing an Uber-Style Service for Package Delivery

Amazon Is Developing an Uber-Style Service for Package Delivery | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Like Uber, but for delivering Amazon packages? In its ongoing effort to get packages to consumers as quickly as possible, Amazon may soon employ an Uber-like app that uses ordinary people as delivery drivers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the plan is known as “On My Way” and would involve using urban retail stores as pseudo-distribution centers. Traditional delivery services would presumably drop off packages to rented storefronts where Amazon has temporarily leased space. From there, amateur drivers would pick up the packages and deliver them to their final destination.

Amazon declined to comment to the WSJ, but there’s already concern about how this would work in our new trust-based contractor economy. The expert that the Wall Street Journaltalked to asked, “What’s to stop these people from simply taking the packages for themselves instead of leaving it on someone’s porch?”

Well, the same things that would stop anyone at any job from stealing all of their employer’s goods. But yes, one can imagine that some people will try to scam the system. Just as there remain questions about how companies like Uber vet drivers through background checks, one imagines that this would become a minor question for Amazon’s efforts as well.

But if this delivery method ever became the norm you can expect that fewer people would begin to worry about the packages and more about the labor issues involved. Amazon has made a concerted effort in recent years to make same-day delivery the norm. And in so doing it has relied heavily on farming a lot of its work out to contractors at its new distribution facilities.

Interestingly, the WSJ notes that the way that delivery drivers would get paid hasn’t been completely figured out yet. One would imagine American currency would be preferred but apparently Amazon is toying with the idea that drivers would be paid in credit good at Amazon. Should the latter occur, we should probably take it as a sign that AmazonBucks could become our national currency any day now.

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Amazon Is in Talks to Buy RadioShack Stores, Report Says

Amazon Is in Talks to Buy RadioShack Stores, Report Says | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Amazon may soon take another leap into the world of brick-and-mortar retail.

According to Bloomberg, the company has been in talks with RadioShack about acquiring at least some stores from the ailing retail chain. The stores would become showcases for Amazon’s own products, such as the Kindle e-readers and tablets, and serve as pick-up and drop-off sites for Amazon customers.

RadioShack is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, and according to other reports, it has also been in talks with wireless carrier Sprint about selling some of its stores. The deal with Amazon may not happen, but nonetheless, it shows where Amazon is headed.

To head off competition from Wal-Mart—one of the few retailers that could pose a legitimate threat to Amazon—and to expand its operation, the company has adopted a new hybrid business model, combining e-commerce with offline services.

Amazon has already built a small physical presence across the country with its Locker program, which enables customers to pick-up packages at 7-Eleven stores and other locations—including RadioShack stores at one time, though the chain dropped out of the program. Meanwhile, it’s moving into same-day delivery, running its own grocery delivery service and even offering one-hour delivery for certain products in Manhatten. Rumors also indicate it will soon open a flagship retail space in Manhattan.

As we’ve put it before, the point of an Amazon store isn’t really to provide a new place to shop. It would be a way for Amazon to market its own products and services, including the Kindle and Amazon Prime, and to run a distribution center for its same-day delivery services.

Acquiring some RadioShack’s locations could fit with that strategy, giving Amazon a way to quickly extend its footprint into hundreds more U.S. cities. But that doesn’t mean it’ll happen. Amazon could benefit from an existing supply chain for piping goods into and out of a series of low-rent physical locations. But given that Amazon has its own hyper-customized logistics practices, it could be hard for it to absorb another company’s processes.

But the fact that Amazon is even interested in acquiring part of a brick and mortar chain shows just how much the retail business, both online and off, has changed in recent years.


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Patrick Wallace's curator insight, March 17, 2015 7:57 AM

Amazon making moves . . . .

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Google, Facebook, and Amazon Have Forever Changed Computer Networking

Google, Facebook, and Amazon Have Forever Changed Computer Networking | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Google, Facebook, and Amazon don’t sell networking switches. And they never will. But they’ve forever changed the way others sell them.

Networking switches are those things that send data across the massive data centers that drive the internet and the world’s private computer networks. Traditionally, big American companies like Cisco and Juniper dominated the switch market, selling rather expensive hardware that ran their own proprietary software.

But as Google, Facebook, and Amazon expanded their online operations to unprecedented sizes, the traditional gear didn’t really suit them. It was too expensive and too difficult to program. So they went to Asia for a simpler breed of networking hardware.

Basically, they arranged to run their own custom software on gear built by Asian manufacturers. At first, they kept these efforts on the down-low. And many dismissed the practice as something only the giants of the net would ever do. But now, the market is following suit.

Today, venerable hardware seller HP announced that it’s now selling “bare metal” networking switches—basic gear that anyone can load with their own software. That may seem like small news, but it represents an enormous shift in the hardware market. HP is following in the footsteps of both Juniper and Dell, another major hardware seller, in offering such switches.

“It’s all happening much faster than I thought,” says JR Rivers, the CEO of Cumulus Networks, a startup offering software for running box switches—software that will also be offered by HP.

For a brief time, Rivers helped design networking switches inside Google, and now, he’s directly pushing the same basic ideas to the rest of the market. Dell also sells the company’s software, which is based on the Linux open source operating system. Google built switches that it could load with its own networking software and modify as need be, and Cumulus lets companies do much the same.

Just last week, Facebook revealed that it’s now using its own switches and its own software inside its data centers. And Cisco downplayed the news. “Eight of the 10 largest Internet companies in the world are Cisco customers,” it said in a statement sent to WIRED. “Facebook has unique requirements that they are addressing with their own development.”

But the idea behind Facebook’s gear is hardly unique.

It’s not a complicated idea. It’s the same model that PCs and computer servers have used for so long, and it only makes sense. The hardware and the software are separate, and you can mix and match and modify as you see fit. It’s just that in the networking world, the idea was long overdue.


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