Amazon adds “Help me!” button to its Fire tablets

The button is actually called “Mayday” – this is a new Amazon-MayDay-Buttonbig new feature Amazon added its Fire line of tablets. While general public rarely hears this word (normally only in movies), it is a well-known emergency procedure word, used to signal a life-threatening emergency primarily by mariners and aviators.

The button is supposed to take you to live video support. A video chat window opens on the screen. You see the person, but she can’t see you. That person can see the screen of your device and therefore help you to figure out the problem you are supposedly having.

Now this is some real innovation going on in the tablets market. I don’t know how it is going to work out for Amazon’s customers, but this feature has even greater potential for the enterprise use. And if we take it a bit further…

Say you have a problem with the car. You press a button on the car dash panel and get a “Mayday”-like service from your car dealer! The person from the dealership would be able to read data from the car’s computer real-time, thus being able to pretty much accurately determine the reason for a malfunction and whether there is a quick fix for it. This is pretty much the same as they have it on Formula-1 cars, but this time it’s for everyone. Wouldn’t it be great?!




3 Responses to Amazon adds “Help me!” button to its Fire tablets

  1. About your car idea – would it be really useful for someone to get access to current data about your car? What can a support person do better in this case than a computer with an expert system? I have almost no experience with such car situations, so this is a real question, not a rhetorical one.

    And for the Amazon’s Mayday, I don’t understand at all what can it be useful for. I can only imagine how this will be used by user for either improper things or just for talking with someone. You know, lonely people searching for someone to talk to. I don’t see this as innovation – it’s just borrowing a well known and very commercially successful idea from psychotherapy and “doctors” who specialize on people seeking attention.

    • Oleg Kokorin says:

      A typical modern car knows a lot about what’s going on: tire pressure, lamps (good or burnt out), generator not working, break pads worn out, etc. The idea is that you can get a real-time advice whether you can still drive the car or it is too dangerous and you absolutely need to stop driving and wait for help. The dashboard signals are supposed to tell you that, but most of the time all you get is a red exclamation sign and no idea about what’s going on.

      • So it’s just a matter of extending a boolean indicator into a human-readable detailed form? If so, then I believe current car computers and screens can do this without any new technology/service of having live humans sitting somewhere and streaming video to you.

        It’s even more mysterious to me with Amazon’s e-book computers. E-books seem to be really simple and reliable computers. If users really need services like Mayday it means Amazon patches it’s problems with developing good UX/UI by giving Mayday service. The only thing \i can think about which justifies Mayday, is that it will be used not for help service but to replace site. You just push button, have one-way video with an attractive and helpful person who is essentially same as a person in a shop helping you to choose what to buy (and upselling). That would be a clever idea, I admit. And they can reuse current telemarketing industry fully – just outsourcing this service to them.

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