It's been nearly 10 months since Amazon first introduced two new initiatives around effortless in-home shopping: its brand-specific Dash Buttons and the Dash Replenishment Service, a service for connected home appliances that promised to reorder the dish soap or detergent for you when stuff was running low. And since last March, Amazon has continued to announce a bunch of hardware partners around these services; just a couple weeks ago, Whirlpool said that its new connected washers, dryers, and dishwashers would work with Amazon's Dash Replenishment service.
The only problem was that the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service wasn't actually working. At least, not until now.
Amazon today flipped the switch, so to speak, on its Dash Replenishment Service, enabling a few of its partners to actually begin auto-reordering consumable goods for customers. These partners include Brother International, General Electric, and Gmate, which makes "smart" blood glucose monitors.
Around 45 different connected Brother printers will be issued a software update that allows users go to the Brother website, link their printer accounts with Amazon's service, and let Brother and Amazon reorder ink and toner for them. GE's $1,100 washing machine with "SmartDispense" technology can do the same, only with liquid detergent. And people who use the Gmate smart blood glucose monitor can have their lancets and blood testing strips reordered for them regularly.
Your printer ink reordered by Dash, delivered by drone?
The Dash Replenishment program is all a part of Amazon's grand vision for anticipating peoples' needs so that the purchasing process, which is already too easy, is as easy as possible, all of which ultimately benefits Amazon (as well as, you know, customers). "Right now our customers go back and forth between running out of [items], or over-ordering so you have a bulk supply in the basement," Amazon's director of devices, Daniel Rausch, said in an interview with The Verge. "Our goal is actually to make it just as much as you need, exactly as often as you need it, so you can set it and forget it."
The API for Amazon's Dash Replenishment Service also came out of private beta today, which means that everyone from big manufacturers to small businesses to hobbyists can begin to tinker with automatically reordering goods through Amazon for their products. Some people have already done this with Amazon Dash Buttons, coming up with solutions for ordering pizza or getting alcohol delivered with the press of a button. It will be interesting to see what people come up with for Dash Replenishment.
Of course, in order for Dash Replenishment to work properly, the connected device or home appliance has to both a) require some type of consumable good that needs restocking b) have the right kind of sensor, scale, or even some type of camera that monitors when that good is running out. For example, one of the GE washers that is connected to Amazon's Dash Replenishment Service will store a full bottle of detergent liquid in a sensor-filled reservoir, so that the washer "knows" when the liquid is getting low.