Amazon’s Acquired Vacuum Cleaner Can Map Users’ Houses And Raises Concerns About Privacy

amazon privacy concerns

We know that data is an extremely important tool to help marketers succeed in their strategies. The richer the information, the closer brands can get to their audiences. With that in mind, companies are doing all they can to provide a more personalized experience, which in the end is focused on customer satisfaction and acquisition/revenue.

Another trend that impacts not only marketers lives, but reflects on everybody else, are the smart gadgets that are everyday closer and more common on a daily basis. We are now able to ask devices to turn the lights on, schedule meetings, watch our pets, play our favorite songs or add something to the grocery list. Soon, we will also be able to ask them to do some chores for us, and this is closer than you think.

Amazon has recently announced the acquisition of iRobot Corp., the manufacturer of the Roomba vacuum cleaner. The $1.7 billion deal can be seen not only as “an expensive purchase” but a new way to get cleaner robots closer to us on a daily basis.

As mentioned, the closer brands are to people, the higher the chances are of bringing new offers of products and services in a personalized way. In the near future, Alexa will know not only what your favorite song is or what time you wake up during the week, but also, how big your house is and even how messy you are. 

There are some Roomba vacuum cleaner models that can do more than that by scanning and mapping environments. With the integration with Amazon systems, the company will be able to get more data about people’s houses and routines. By getting some insights about how someone lives, it is possible to make some inferences, and help marketers create new offers according to specific needs or preferences.

But, of course, there’s some privacy concerns that we will have to take into consideration. Users’ data are gold in an era where we discuss the end of third-party data and companies look to talk directly to their public, bringing ever more personalized messages, which can also increase the campaign’s ROI.

On the other side, using customers’ personal information is a huge deal and companies need to deal with them with care and, most importantly, with transparency. The user needs to know every single piece of information that is gathered and has to have the ability to accept it or not. All that applies to every brand that collects users’ data, in the virtual or the real world.

What Amazon Would Know About You?

By mapping an entire home, the bigger the house, the richer the person might be, so premium products and services may make sense to this customer. Depending on the type of revestment on the floor, it is possible to know not only about someone’s wealth but also offer specific types of cleaning products.

Understanding the type of material found on the floor, the robot can understand if the family has kids (by finding toys, for example) or pets (by finding… well, you know). Once again, two big opportunities for marketers.

It will also be possible to know when we are going to sleep or are in a more private moment, by bumping at a closed door in the bedroom or toilet. That sounds a bit scary.

Customers Are Worried About Their Data

People are concerned about how companies are dealing with their data.  More than a half, 55%, said to a The Drum’s survey that they don’t like to share their personal data, even if the price is for a better digital experience.

Nonetheless, the vacuum is just one more device to be added to our routine, frequently receiving inputs about how we are living our lives and transforming this information into business data. The thing is, how safe is it all going to be and what is the limit of smart and connected things in our lives? Do we want the companies to know so much about us?

Despite the privacy concern, we have to admit that the acquisition is a big move for Amazon and can bring great results for the business, while making people’s lives easier and keeping their houses tidy, just by saying “Alexa, clean my room”.

But the big lesson here is: the world is increasingly getting more and more data, from different sources and devices. As marketers, we need to know how to handle this huge amount of information to bring results to our businesses, but always respecting the customers’ privacy. 

The customers are already concerned. Yes, your performance campaigns can get a boost in the short term. But you can have trouble in the long run by having a brand image crisis for disrespecting your client’s information and wants. Be careful. And always be transparent!

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