Amazon makes a Dash to take lead in the internet of things

October 5, 2015 9:15 am

Amazon makes a Dash to take lead in the internet of things
By Leslie Hook in Seattle

Amazon has stepped up its push to be part of the “internet of things” by teaming up with manufacturers to incorporate automatic reordering into their appliances.

More than a dozen appliance makers, including General Electric and Samsung, have said they are to integrate Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service into smart devices, such as washing machines, locks and water jugs.

Next month GE will launch a smart washer and dryer that can automatically reorder detergent and softener from Amazon through its laundry app when it is running low.

The project underscores Amazon’s focus on the “smart home” at a time when a range of companies are trying to integrate new connected technologies into consumer devices.

After smart thermostats such as Nest, smart door locks and home security systems, such as Dropcam or Canary, the kitchen and pantry are the next frontier for the so-called internet of things.

“The real end state is where things just take care of themselves,” said Daniel Rausch, a director of product management for Dash services. “So Amazon wants to start providing that level of convenience for customers.”

Amazon has a history of investing in new hardware projects and experimental devices that may never see the light of day or, like the Fire phone, be shelved after a brief period. Other efforts to get inside the kitchen include the Dash Wand, released last year, which allows customers of Amazon Fresh to scan product bar codes for easy reordering.

Amazon launched its Dash Replenishment Service earlier this year to complement its Dash button and wand products.

“We’re pretty excited about this,” said Liz VerSchure, product general manager at GE appliances. “As we look to the connected space and the connected home, we are trying to make our appliances help their owners, and make time spent with our appliances more enjoyable.”

Whirlpool plans to launch a smart washer/dryer next year that will be able to connect directly with Amazon. And Clorox is working on a smart Brita pitcher that will know when to reorder water filters. “The long-term goal is trying to get brands that people know, trust and use, into people’s homes so that they can use them, as quickly as possible,” said Ed Huber, vice-president and general manager.

It is likely to be some time before the technology becomes truly commonplace, however, said Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali. “It appears that the real opportunity is with the Dash Replenishment Service which is appended to other devices,” she said. “Also the buttons are likely to be displaced by voice activated technologies that are even more seamless and flexible.”

Amazon does not disclose how many customers have opted to use the Dash buttons, which are free, after a rebate, and were made generally available last month after an initial limited launch.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2015. You may share using our article tools.


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