Amazon’s Dash Buttons, launched in 2015, promise a simpler shopping life of one-press ordering whenever you run out of anything in your home. It also promises a home cluttered with hundreds of the little plastic buttons, each one assigned to a particular product.
To get around having your home overrun by Dash Buttons, Amazon followed up in 2016 with the Dash Replenishment Service that lets makers of connected devices incorporate the same functionality into their machines, eliminating the need for a physical, standalone button.
It means that when your printer is running low on ink, or the batteries in your door’s smart lock begin to fade, the device automatically detects this and reorders fresh supplies from Amazon so you’ll never run out.
Amazon already has a number of manufacturers working the technology directly into their products, and this week it announced that more makers are getting on board.
New devices offering automatic ordering via Dash include printers from HP and Epson so you never run out of ink, a range of home appliances from Kenmore, smart air filters from 3M that automatically reorder replacement filters, coffee machines from illy that track capsule usage, and Wi-Fi “pet camera” maker Petcube that’ll automatically reorder animal treats.
Amazon this month also announced the Virtual Dash Button Service (VDBS) that allows third parties to offer virtual Dash Buttons on their screened devices — think smart washers and refrigerators.
“Virtual Dash Buttons are shortcuts that allow Prime members to quickly find and reorder their favorite products from a selection of millions of eligible products,” Amazon explains. “Virtual Dash Buttons launched on Amazon’s mobile application and website in January 2017, expanded to Echo Show in October, and now can be available on third party devices via VDBS.”
The system enables you to quickly bring up multiple items on the display — so for your washer it might be different brands of detergent and fabric conditioner — and order in a couple of taps. While the ordering is manual rather than the automatic system employed by many Dash devices, this method allows you to select from multiple products associated with a particular machine.
The expansion by Amazon of its Dash service is all part of the company’s ongoing efforts to become an integral part of the smart home, which also includes its Alexa digital assistant and the growing range of Amazon Echo devices that it powers.