Amazon Launches Drones. Just Another Format War?
Even the science fiction fans among us scoffed a bit when amazon started talking about drones that would deliver things to our homes in 4 to 5 years. I scoffed more when I thought about the logistics of the delivery.
Like many of you as soon as I scanned the article and laughed it off as a “never-will-happen” topic and I had forgotten it. Until todays Wired article.
I don’t know what was in that article or that it caught me at work but for some reason it came back to me. I am a systems engineer and so it is natural for me to consider the cost to value ratio of such a system. I kept coming back to the same question:
What on earth would be light enough and expensive enough to pay for this infrastructure?
The obvious sarcastic answer was diamonds. I chuckled to myself imagining diamond heists where people had crazy contraptions to net the flying drones and bust into the tiny valuable cargo. As I was laughing I had a thought…
What would pay for drones? Lots of damn subscriptions, thats what would pay for-
Holy crap! What do we pay subscriptions for? TV, Movies, Games, Magazines, Audio Books (thanks amazon’s audible.com) and on top of those subscriptions I pay for an Internet Provider (ISP) to pipe it to my house. Lets say I wanted to download 8 Gb of my favorite season of whatever in High definition how long would that take me?
I quickly looked up download times on several sites and came up with similar times. I would spend almost 4 hours per Gb of data. So we are talking about a full day and then some for 8 Gb of data.
Now what can hold 8Gb of data and weighs so little that a drone could deliver it? Flash memory? DVDs? So I could be wrong but did Amazon just invent a asynchronous data network with faster download speeds than anything on the market with no need to bring cables to each home and maintain them?
Even if you tossed out the idea of Drones. Have Joe Amazon (I am not good with names) jump in a car and drive to my house with a USB stick on the seat. From the closest city (Boston) to me that would take just over a hour. Much much faster than 24hours and sucking up my internet speeds.
Dear readers what do you think of this? Isn’t this essentially just a format war? We are used to getting our data via Fiber or Coax and instead someone just came around with a new format that won’t give you 24 hour connection but when you want one of those big files that cable and DSL keep complaining about and threatening to cap, this new company says “No problem”
Oh btw….they can provide the same for upload because if you didn’t know Amazon already hosts data.