The Amazon Dash Button, a hackable (r)evolution
Feb 12, 2016 | by Markus Oponczewski | 0 Comments

Lately I have been talking to different clients about their journey into the digital transformation, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). We are looking into how we can help them to fully exploit the possibilities of existing technologies and business models and furthermore challenge existing business models through existing and new technologies. In the course of this I finally got my hands on a bunch of Amazon dash buttons. Despite that I’m not able to use them as intended (only US, only Amazon prime), buying detergents or diapers just by pushing the button, I am quite happy! The dash buttons are remarkable IoT devices and representing a milestone in technical evolution affecting the lives of most of us.

Remarkable, milestone, evolution, revolution… isn’t it just a button able to order some goods or products? I think it’s far more, Amazon paved the way for IoT business for retail and consumer markets. They standardized a powerful hardware setup for low cost, running infrastructures capable and scalable to handle any amount of purchase requests, provide easy setups for the users and alongside ease customer loyalty and are attractive to vendors, selling their goods.

Despite the fact that this is really a big thing, I do not expect that the dash buttons in this format will last for long, but thats not important. They are an intermediate step towards the upcoming full automatic order process in consumer business. Amazon uses the same technology already for the next level, the Amazon Dash Replenishment Services (DRS). The dash is part of the coffee machine, the washer, the printer, even dog bowls and it’s not longer necessary to press any button, sensors will then detect the need to reorder.

Since availability of the dash buttons in march 2015 and beside the business perspective the buttons developed a good reputation as hackable devices. The device is nice and the interest is big to understand what happens on technology level.