Is It Smart? – Amazon Dash

Hello BIMfans,
Welcome to ‘Is It Smart’, a blog series where I have a look at the smart technology installed within Ty Crempog as I explore the power of BIM level 2PropTech, and the Internet of Things (IOT).  This week, I take a look at my Amazon Dash Buttons.

What is it?

dash

The Amazon Dash Button is a Wi-Fi enabled device, linked to specific products on Amazon.  When you are starting to run low of a product, you simply press the button and an order will be placed and delivered using the details you have provided.

How Does it Work?

DashApp.png

Using an Amazon account, you register the Amazon Dash Button as a device (like you would a Kindle).  Once the device is registered, you are able to select a product from the shortlist Amazon supports for your branded button (ie I can’t get my Andrex Button to deliver Velvet or Cushelle).

Once all of this has been completed, pressing the button sends a command over WI-FI to place an order for that product; it’s as simple as that.  The button also has a fail-safe that stops someone from pressing it multiple times by as default only allowing a single active order.

How Did I Model it?

dashrevit
My Amazon Dash Button can be downloaded from here.

Under the Industry Foundation Class (IFC) Schema, there is no obvious IFC Type, so I did what I always do in a situation such as this; ask Twitter.

Following the voting, the majority of people thought that it should be a Communication Appliance.  However, I have overruled this verdict and used  SwitchingDevice_MomentarySwitch (Sorry!).  I did this as my Amazon Dash Buttons have no ‘position’ and simply trigger an action to occur; making them switches.

Similar to my Nest Thermostat I used a face based generic model to create my object, but this time I have modelled the object as a solid oval.  Due to the low level of graphical detail used the object file is only around 296KB.  The file was named following the BS8541-1 naming convention to:

Amazon_SwitchingDevice_DashButton

Using the requirements set out within my Data Requirements, I populated this object with the data needed to manage my Amazon Dash Buttons.  Capturing information such as: Installation data, serial number, replacement cost, and warranty information.

Is it Smart?

The Amazon Dash Button, unfortunately, doesn’t really tick the right boxes to be considered smart.

  • Data in: Without any sensors, the data input method on the Amazon Dash Button is the button itself which means that the ONLY way to active it is by physically pressing the button.  Also annoyingly, the buttons settings can only be edited through the mobile app, and these settings are rather limited.  For example, there is no way to rename my buttons despite being able to name other devices on my account.

    amazondevicename
    Why, why can’t I rename these buttons?
  • Data out:  There is also little data available from the device.  Aside from the default order history held on an Amazon account, no other information is available apart from a confirmation email received after the button is pressed.
  • Connectivity: Due to the proprietary nature of the service, it is no surprise that it offers little connectivity.  These buttons are basically physical Do Buttons, but without any connectivity to other applications.  Of course, that hasn’t stopped some people from thinking of Amazon Dash Button Hacks.

The Potential

dashpotential
Think of all the fun it would be to trigger amazon deliveries if they spoke to each other…

Currently, this use of these buttons is very limited.  If Amazon had opened up the button’s so that it could connect with IFTTT, then it would blow their potential wide open allowing for activation through triggers as well as physical presses.  This would also have the benefit of allowing recipes to store a log of when the buttons where pressed, which could then be used for settings future budgets as there would be a record of how often the buttons are pressed (or triggered).

The Verdict

dashiq

Is it Smart?  The answer is no, with an IQ of only 70.

The Amazon Dash Buttons sounded pretty interesting when they were first released, however, after fitting a couple into my home I am disappointed at how little information I get out and put into them.  Compared to other smart home products, it seems odd how isolated the Amazon Dash Buttons are especially when you consider how connected something like Amazon Echo is.   The biggest disappointment is how I am forced to select only a few products from a pick-list.  This meant that only bulk orders could be selected which came as quite a surprise when they arrived.

lotsoflooroll
45 loo rolls are more than enough!  No-one press the button for another six months!

And there you have it, This week my Amazon Dash Buttons didn’t prove very smart.  Tune in next time when I consider my Google Home and ask one simple question; Is It Smart?

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