Here are the patents for Amazon’s floating fulfillment centers. This is not a drill.
Described is an airborne fulfillment center (“AFC”) and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAV”) to deliver items from the AFC to users. For example, the AFC may be an airship that remains at a high altitude (e.g., 45,000 feet) and UAVs with ordered items may be deployed from the AFC to deliver ordered items to user designated delivery locations. As the UAVs descend, they can navigate horizontally toward a user specified delivery location using little to no power, other than to stabilize the UAV and/or guide the direction of descent. Shuttles (smaller airships) may be used to replenish the AFC with inventory, UAVs, supplies, fuel, etc. Likewise, the shuttles may be utilized to transport workers to and from the AFC.
Last Word: The Media/Commerce Stack
Just last issue (“Reshaping eCommerce”), I highlighted TheSkimm as a potential disruptor in the space. I’ve added a quick illustration to explain my interest in the area. They check a few boxes already: 1, 4. And these two boxes are by far the hardest of the five pillars of the media/eCommerce stack.
Readers must derive value from your platform, such that their is an established trust and they seek to reward you for the value that you provide. Additionally, if they in a subscription system (with payment on file), they are closer to being repeat purchasers.
Amazon illustrates this perfectly: (1) Amazon Prime is a perceived “pay it forward” because of the cost-cutting value that it provides (2) Is there a more efficient 3PL / Drop Ship Hybrid Model in America? (3) They have begun rolling out DNVB’s left and right [see this tweet] (4) They have begun competing with iTunes and Barnes & Noble as a media delivery vehicle – free magazine subscriptions and rock bottom streaming prices (5) Their cart software and one-click purchasing functionality is industry-leading in the United States.
So why the media-first angle? Good luck starting off as an eCommerce player and achieving these five principles. It’s taken Amazon 20 years and billions of dollars in user subsidies. Most independent and VC-backed media players have begun to address 1, 4. Frankly, I am tired of applauding Amazon but if you keep your ear to the ground, the company does present applicable best practices. In the age when they seem to be coming for it all, the Media/Commerce stack is the best positioned to chart a new path for ad-light revenue growth.
See more of the issue here.