Most of us haven't heard about Amazon's latest and greatest invention and to be honest, it's a little surprising. It's been floating around the U.S for a while but it's finally started arriving on British soil as Amazon look to invade the homestead, as well as our web browsers.
For most people nowadays, Amazon are a godsend. A lifeline when we need to order those last minute birthday presents, or that latest computer game or even our food shopping! Amazon seemingly have it all covered. But Amazon's latest gadget doesn't function on the web, in your television or even in an app - the Dash is a physical help button; a one-stop-shop to help make your life that little bit easier.
Quite simply the Amazon Dash is a button, the size of a standard USB stick that is programmed to order you a set amount of a set product.
Here's an example:
You're feeding your lovely new cat and you've been so caught up in the fuss and the faff of buying it a new bed, scratching post and laser pen (to make it climb walls or jump on unsuspecting friends) that you didn't realise you only have one can of Whiskas cat food left! What to do?! You're far too busy to go and buy some more but luckily Amazon has your back covered. Simply press the Whiskas Dash Button and you have just placed an order for a multipack of your cats favourite food to be delivered to your door first thing tomorrow - phew! You can breathe easy once again!
So imagine a similar scenario replaced with other brands such as:
- Nescafé to name but a few...
The biggest question in our minds is simply: Is it worth it?
Now there are a few prerequisites that we should mention before we move on.
1) You must be a member of Amazon Prime for your Dash to work.
2) The button has a one off cost of £4.99 but you do get £4.99 off your first order, meaning it effectively pays for itself.
3) You need a different button for each different item. So if you like Fairy biological washing powder, but your partner prefers Fairy non-bio, then guess what? You'll need to purchase two buttons.
I mean sure, it saves you 30-60 seconds of time, and if you're changing your baby's nappy and realise it's the last one, I'm sure the ease of pressing a button is much more appealing than using your grubby hands to get out your phone but other than a rare set of circumstances is the Dash and it's lack of flexibility (But if you'd like to see how to order beer and pizza using it look here...) really work as a practical product? We'll let you make your own minds up!
Things have really got interesting with the tech side of this gadget. Launching simultaneously is the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service which allows 3rd party manufacturers and developers to include the Amazon Dash service in their products. This means that, for companies who take the gamble they can integrate automatic ordering through either a button on their machine or a few lines of code.
This means Coffee Machines that can measure how many beans are left and will automatically order your favourite coffee before you run out. Washing machines that can order their own detergent. Printers that order their own toner/ink.
Now that we can get excited about. By allowing API on their DRS program the options are potentially limitless. If it can be measured/weighed/monitored then it can be ordered, all without you having to make the effort. How much easier would it be to never have to order ink again, it just turns up whenever it's needed?
Whether the Dash button catches on or not, the future is looking bright for the automated life - until our coffee machines start to spite us by refusing to order our coffee when we need it!