Tech giants Amazon are remaking retail, and are keen to reinvent large parts of construction and development too.
The ambitious, worldwide success story that is Amazon is now worth around $760bn, and thrives on innovation. With a hand in everything from groceries, books, drone deliveries, home security and robotics, the expanding enterprise is willing to shake up traditional areas.
In January, The Spheres were unveiled, a venture that took six years of planning and construction. They are attached to Amazon’s HQ in Seattle, and home to more than 400 species of plants from 50 countries.
The eye-catching giant biospheres are a creative, sustainable place for employees to collaborate and innovate together, and though not every tenant will want a biosphere, it signals a revolutionary period where contractors may encounter increasingly elaborate demands from big firms.
Aside from Amazon leading by example with remaking office space, the firm are also building and transforming physical stores and distribution centres at an impressive rate. For contractors involved in developing distribution centres, the market is set to continue to grow.
In the UK, Amazon last year opened sits in Daventry, Doncaster, Warrington, and Essex as it reacts to soaring demand. A new facility in Bristol is set to become the company’s latest self-developed site, and it is due to build its first dedicated UK ‘receive centre’ in Coventry this year.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is core to much of Amazon’s business. It recently launched four new AI services, including Amazon Recognition Video, which tracks people, detects activities and recognises objects, celebrities and inappropriate content.
According to Construction News, while the construction industry is already using sophisticated data management tools, now it only seems a matter of time before contractors begin incorporating Amazon’s services.
As well as Amazon incorporating robots into its indoor facilities, it is also pushing its green credentials by installing solar roofs on its distribution centres. It hopes to have them on 50 distribution centres around the world by 2020.
The introduction of Amazon Go in America is a remake of grocery stores with a high tech edge, where customers simple pick up items and leave the store, having paid automatically. If this is to catch on in the UK, it means more construction work and contractors will need to be employed.
Talking of the possibility that Amazon could eventually launch into the construction sector, analyst Neil Saunders, GlobalData, said: “Amazon likes to vertically integrate aspects of its operation, such as delivery, so it is possible that it will create its own construction and development team.”
David Lewis, managing director, integra people, warrington