Amazon’s palm-scanning technology, Amazon One, has always been about more than just fast payments. Really, it’s about Amazon controlling and verifying identities, with the company hoping to deploy its service in public spaces like offices and stadiums. Today, Amazon announced the tech’s first launch in an entertainment venue as part of a partnership with ticketing firm AXS. Amazon One will be available to validate entry into Colorado’s famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, an open-air venue built into a rocky outcrop.
It’s the first time the technology has been deployed outside Amazon and Whole Food stores, and Amazon says it expects the tech will be added “to more AXS ticketed venues in the future.” People can enroll into the scheme at dedicated stations in the Red Rocks venue, with these booths analyzing the unique patterns of veins and lines in their palms to register and then later verify identities.
Amazon is trying to make the case that this technology is more convenient than regular contactless cards and QR codes, but it’s not that convincing. It’s true that you can’t lose your palm in a way you might lose a physical ticket, but most tickets are available on our phones these days, which we tend to have with us all the time. Numerous privacy experts, meanwhile, have expressed skepticism about Amazon’s ambitions here. The company is not likely to make money from Amazon One, so instead it must be interested in the data it can collect. If Amazon One becomes standard use in physical stores and venues, then the company will get better insight into customers shopping habits and hobbies.
Right now, though, there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of momentum behind the technology. It’s been out a year and Amazon says that “tens of thousands of customers have signed up and used the service to enter and pay at participating Amazon stores” only. The company is also trying to encourage sign-ups by offering $10 for your palm print.