- • A firsthand look at the future of retail
- • The deliverymen of the future will be robots
- • A pharma giant shows us what to expect from these genetic editing stocks
My trip to Amazon Go…
As I mentioned last week, Amazon Go is the future of retail.
These are stores where you walk in, take what you want, and walk out. No lines. No checkout counters. No need to speak with anyone… just pure convenience. Your credit card on file is billed when you leave.
This is possible because the stores are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision. Cameras are placed throughout the store to keep track of what you take.
There are now 13 Amazon Go stores in the U.S. No. 13 just opened in New York City last week… and I was among the first visitors.
Outside of Amazon Go
I can tell you the experience was seamless. I downloaded the Amazon Go app on my phone and signed into my Amazon account. Then a QR code popped up. You just scan this code at the gates when you walk in the store.
You can see the gates in the picture below. They have the green light on them. And just in case, there were two employees in orange shirts showing customers how to scan their codes. It’s just like scanning your e-ticket on your phone when you are boarding a plane.
Amazon Go entrance gates
Once inside, I was impressed with how organized the products were. Nothing was bunched together. Everything was in a clear row with perfect spacing.
And if you look closely, you can see dividers between each product. That’s to make it less likely that the AI makes a mistake identifying exactly which products consumers take. They help the AI clearly see which items you grab. I wish every supermarket looked this good.
Amazon Go shelf with dividers
Here you can see how the snacks are perfectly spaced out. These are what Amazon calls fast-moving consumer goods. They are individual servings that you aren’t going to buy online.
And guess what? Amazon Go also stocks fresh food.
Fresh food options
As you can see, it offers sandwiches… wraps… meats… cheeses… and even sushi.
Busy customers can pop in, grab their lunch, and pop out. It’s brilliant.
The last picture I will show you is of the cameras on the ceiling…
Amazon Go cameras
Each of those black boxes has cameras in them. They are loaded with computer vision semiconductors and powered by AI. They can see every product and every person in the store at all times.
And they work perfectly. I know because I tested them. I took a few products off the shelf, walked around a bit, and then put them back. Then I grabbed a green tea and a protein bar and walked out.
Amazon sent me a receipt within seconds of leaving. I was billed only for the tea and the bar… not for the products I took at first and then put back. The AI performed perfectly.
By the way, I had to chuckle because a few people didn’t believe you could just walk out with what you want. It’s such a foreign concept to most consumers. They were trying to scan products with their phones. I could tell they were uncomfortable, even after the store staff told them just to take what they wanted and go.
But this model will catch on quick. It’s such a fantastic consumer experience. I could have been in and out in 10 seconds if I wasn’t doing tech research. I was probably the person who was in the store the longest.
And as I told you last week, I learned that Amazon plans to open 3,000 new Amazon Go stores in the next few years.
So there’s no doubt in my mind: This is the future of retail. That bodes well for Amazon and its stock price.
This is not your grandfather’s Ford Motor Company…
And here is the future of delivery…
Ford has teamed up with a private company called Agility Robotics to do something incredible… use bipedal robots to deliver packages.
Imagine your doorbell rings and this guy is waiting for you…
Ford’s Robot With Legs
These robots are the real deal. They can walk on uneven surfaces… climb stairs… and even carry up to 40-pound packages.
Ford and Agility Robotics are piloting these robots right now. The robot rides in the back of a delivery van with the packages. Then, when the van stops, the robot opens the door, gets out, and picks up the next package for delivery. It carries it to the front porch, sets it down, and then returns to the back of the van. All on its own.
And get this… Ford is using its fleet of self-driving vans in the pilot. So the entire delivery process is automated. How amazing is that?
Ultimately, Ford wants to sell this turnkey delivery system to somebody like Amazon, UPS, or FedEx. And based on the pilot results so far, I’m sure somebody will jump in to scoop up this technology.
A major CRISPR catalyst…
The first major acquisition of a CRISPR technology company took place last week.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) bought a private company called Exonics Therapeutics for an up-front payment of $245 million and future payments up to $1 billion based on milestone achievements. Exonics is working on CRISPR-Cas9 genetic editing therapies to cure neuromuscular diseases.
Remember, CRISPR is like software programming for DNA. Basically, CRISPR allows scientists to “cut out” a genetic mutation in our DNA and replace it with a “healthy” version of itself.
Here’s why this is such big news…
Exonics has only been around for two years. And it does not own any of the foundational intellectual property (IP) for CRISPR technology.
Yet Vertex was basically willing to write a $1 billion check in current and future payments for the company. That means that Exonics is worth at least $1 billion.
This gives us some insight into how the market will value CRISPR companies. A company that is preclinical with no foundational IP is already worth more than $1 billion. Wow.
And get this, two of the genetic editing companies that hold foundational patents are trading at an enterprise value of $737 million and $358 million, respectively. That’s a major opportunity… Once the market catches on to how powerful this technology is, these stocks are going to soar.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
P.S. The powerful investment potential of genetic editing was a central theme during last week’s presentation, the Early Stage Tech Summit. I told attendees that investments in just a handful of CRISPR companies could ultimately deliver them 1,000% returns. If you’d like all the details for yourself, the presentation is still online for one more day. Go here.