The Amazon Dash Button is simple. If you press a button for toilet paper, you get toilet paper. But sometimes simplicity isn't all it's cracked up to be: what if you had a programmable Dash Button that could do almost anything when you pressed it?
Such a button now exists. It's called the AWS IoT Button, and it's definitely not simple. To use it, you need to be a developer who understands Amazon Web Services architecture: Lambda, DynamoDB, SNS, and the like. If you do, the possibilities of this button are endless: a few lines of AWS code can tell the button to interact with pretty much anything that's connected to the Internet.
Here are some of Amazon's suggestions: "For example, you can click the button to unlock or start a car, open your garage door, call a cab, call your spouse or a customer service representative, track the use of common household chores, medications or products, or remotely control your home appliances.
"The button can be used as a remote control for Netflix, a switch for your Philips Hue light bulb, a check-in/check-out device for Airbnb guests, or a way to order your favorite pizza for delivery. You can integrate it with third-party APIs like Twitter, Facebook, Twilio, Slack or even your own company's applications."
If you're an Amazon Echo owner, and these all sound like things you can already use Alexa to accomplish with voice commands, you're not mistaken. The IoT Button is very much like Alexa. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels put it this way in a tweet: "if you can do it as an Alexa Skill, you can you it with the button."
The IoT Button went on sale at Amazon.com yesterday for $19.95, according to GeekWire, though it apparently sold out and is no longer available. The battery is rated for 1,000 pushes; after that, you'll have to replace it. Regular Dash buttons, meanwhile, are free after your first order.