UPDATED 13:49 EST / JUNE 29 2015

Amazon Dash Button NEWS

What Amazon Dash really means for smart homes: Click. Done.

Amazon’s announcement from a few months ago takes consumption of goods to a new level with Dash. Dash is a simple button device that you can press to automatically order refill products like detergent from Amazon. For some this is a ridiculous product launch deemed frivolous and doomed to failure. For me, Dash is a major milestone in connected living, the introduction of connected products into our lives. We’ve seen connected thermostats, light bulbs and locks entering our home, but Dash is a bit different.

Dash is different.

Dash is interesting because it connects any product from dog food to detergent, and makes replenishing everyday items in the home a non-event. It’s a clever extension to Amazon’s core capability to rapidly deliver products to your home. And of course it makes sure you continue to buy from Amazon. For me, this is what the Internet of Things is all about. It’s not actually about the “Things” at all – it’s about the new business models and new distribution channels connected devices can enable. I want my car connected, so that my dealer can call me to suggest the right course of action when a warning light goes off. I want my boiler to monitor itself before the filter needs changing and my house gets cold. And yes, I want Amazon to send me more wet wipes when I hit the button (anyone with a young family knows you always need wet wipes).

Dash is just the beginning. I fully expect these buttons to get smaller and cheaper to the point where for many products, Amazon will just attach a Dash to the box, bottle or package before the product ships. Then as you run out, you can hit the button and discard it.

The killer Dash for me is being able to order new printer ink. My workflow for ordering ink today goes something like this:

  1.    My wife will text me that the printer is complaining about low ink.
  2.    I need to check supplies when I get home to see which cartridge is running low.
  3.    I then search through my email to find the last time I bought ink because I can never remember the cartridge number.
  4.    I then search on Amazon for the ink (and there seems to be more different options than there should be).
  5.    I find the one I ordered last time and order it again.

“It would be so much easier if there was a button on the printer that my wife could press that did this. Click. Done.”

There are concerns that come with this territory. Security is one of the most prevalent, which is something that Amazon will need to keep front of mind. Can these buttons be spoofed to perform other tasks? How do you destroy them safely since they connect to your home network? Are the buttons themselves a doorway into your home network? I don’t know the answers yet, but Amazon should. My tip is to run a guest Wi-Fi network at home (most Wi-Fi routers have this as an option) and connect your home devices to the guest network, to isolate them from all your personal stuff.

Dash is not the only game in town. I recently wrote about Flic, a really simple button device that allows you to perform single tasks through your phone, such as play or pause music on your Wi-Fi speakers, turn your (connected) lights on or call a cab. Flic and Dash are bringing the physical and digital worlds closer together, allowing consumers to interact seamlessly between the two. This is just the beginning of what connected living looks like – the world around us will be connected in dash.

Image source: Amazon.com

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