Amazon, Vendors Collaborate On IoT Replenishment

Onboard sensors monitor customer usage patterns
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Amazon.com is trialing an automatic product replenishment program with Whirlpool, Brother and other vendors that can sense when supplies are low, or allow customers to reorder frequently used items by pushing a button on a Wi-Fi-enabled product or dongle.

Seattle – Amazon.com is trialing an automatic product-replenishment program with Whirlpool, Brother and other vendors that can sense when supplies are low, or allow customers to reorder frequently used items by pushing a button on a Wi-Fi-enabled product or dongle.

Amazon says it Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) can be integrated into any Internet-ready device via onboard sensors or a physical button. The former approach measures customer usage of consumables like detergent or printer ink and automatically reorders the items through Amazon.

Whirlpool, through a smart top-load laundry pair, and Brother, through select printers, are among the program’s first vendor adherents.

There’s also an on-demand option that lets consumers reorder supplies with one-touch buttons that can be embedded on products or provided through branded “Dash Button” dongles.

The dongles, available so far to select Prime members, work in concert with Amazon’s mobile app and require a nearby mobile device (see video, below).

The e-tailer is also employing an “AmazonDash” Wi-Fi stick for its Fresh grocery delivery program that allows users to place orders by scanning an item or pronouncing it into an onboard microphone.

Amazon says on a FAQ page that device makers can employ DRS with as few as 10 lines of code using HTML containers and REST API calls, and that the company’s Fulfillment by Amazon unit can handle customer addresses, payment instruments or billing systems.

The company quotes Whirlpool integrated business units VP Brett Dibkey, who said the “collaboration is all about taking steps out and keeping life simple,” while Brother marketing senior VP Don Cummins said his company is “committed to developing and supporting innovative services for our customers.”

The program is currently in limited-participation beta with invitations going out to select Prime customers, although a full public rollout is expected this fall.

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