Amazon buys cleaning robot company iRobot
The iRobot company is the one that makes the popular Roomba home robots that are sold by the millions around the world. They were among the first of their kind to appear and set the tone in the market. Tens of millions of homes have a Roomba device.
They are devices that work in a very simple way, removing part of the dirt, and even scrubbing, depending on the model. But they all have in common that they carry out a mapping of the house to be able to go through it with a minimum of collisions in their cleaning tasks.
The robots have a camera to “see” where they are going, and consequently they are seeing the house in which they carry out their cleaning work. And that is (or can be) a very important source of data.
And I think that is why Amazon has paid 1.7 billion dollars for the company. Not only because of the many robots that it sells, but also because of the many data that it can extract from the homes of the people who have those machines, which are many millions of people.
For example, the Roomba j7 model has a camera connected to an AI system capable of identifying objects, and that is very interesting information. Having a robot in our house that sees almost its entirety is very important for a company that sells us everything, as is the case with Amazon.
The robot can detect if the bed, or the chairs, or whatever, are more or less old and consequently Amazon could make us an “offer” of one of the products it has in its catalog. That is information that for Amazon can be worth a lot.
This explains the figure they have paid for the purchase of the company. And already in the past the people of Amazon have shown that they are smart, and also that they have a lot of money to buy other companies.
In Europe we have the GDPR regulation to protect our privacy from the voracity of companies, and as an ordinary citizen I do not know if large companies like Amazon comply with it in its fundamental parts; although in other places like the USA where these limitations do not exist, Amazon will obtain more benefits with this purchase.
We must be aware that all the “intelligent” devices that we put in our house are information capture points for the manufacturer that sells it to us. That includes robots that clean, cameras at the front door or in a room, feeding systems for pets, sound bars, etc….
My private life is nothing important or special, but I don’t want anyone to enter it without my permission. And that is why I am very clear that it will continue being “non intelligent” for many years.
Everyone does what they want with their life.