Amazon's Dash button -- its little WiFi gadget for folks who are too lazy to tap their phone to order laundry detergent -- is now programmable, allowing developers to use AWS cloud services to control IoT devices.
Dash Buttons, introduced last year, are designed for consumers to stick around the house near where they store supplies that need to be replenished often, such as Brawny paper towels and Charmin toilet paper. Each device is preconfigured to order one product with a single click.
Late last week, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) introduced the Limited Release Programmable Dash Button which, as the name implies, allows developers to program the button to do whatever they want -- so long as whatever they want is within the reach of AWS cloud services. Connect the button to a WiFi network, get it an AWS IoT certificate and private key, then go. The button works with Amazon SNS push notification service, the DynamoDB cloud database, and AWS Lambda serverless compute service, and is programmable using Node.js, Python or Java. It can be configured to connect to third-party services and AWS IoT-powered connected things. To get started, you need an AWS account.
What can you do with it? Use button clicks to "count or track items, call or alert someone, start or stop something, order services... unlock or start a car, open your garage door, call a cab, call your spouse or a customer service representative," and more, Amazon says.
Gimmick? Sure. But it's a good way for Amazon to convince developers, including enterprises users, to use AWS to connect with the IoT, and give developers a taste of AWS services.
And also sell more toilet paper. You can never have enough toilet paper.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot area for cloud competition. IoT devices are often in remote locations, and the cloud is ubiquitous as well, making the two technologies complementary. Microsoft is making a push with the Azure IoT Suite, while Amazon offers AWS IoT, Google provides IOT Solutions and IBM links IoT with its Watson cognitive computing (for the Internet of Things that kick butt at Jeopardy!). And Cisco spent $1.4 billion this year to acquire Jasper Technologies, which provides a global, cloud-based IoT service platform. (See Cisco Looks to Jasper Acquisition to Transform Enterprises – & Itself.)
The device costs $20 -- but it's currently sold out. If only there were some kind of button that could help you order the Dash Button...
— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading.