Before Amazon introduced the Dash buttons, it introduced the Dash wand. A gadget for scanning barcodes or simply saying the product name into the microphone in the kitchen to easily add products to the shopping cart on Amazon. The Dash is part of AmazonFresh and can still only be bought when invited.
Hiku is a bit different, and yet it’s also very similar to both of Amazon’s devices. It is a pocket-sized barcode scanner that you can keep anywhere, though you’ll most likely leave it in your kitchen. When you run out of something, like dishwasher detergent, you can use Hiku to scan your empty detergent before tossing its packaging. Hiku will then add that item to a cloud-connected, shareable shopping list.
It also has a mic, so you could just tell Hiku to add something to your shopping list (like lemons or drain clog-removing liquid or whatever your heart desires). From there, you can access your shopping list and share it with others through the Hiku shopping list app. You can even connect Hiku to online stores to place an online order. Hiku currently works with Walmart and Peapod in the US.
Hiku is also in the early stages of working with Waitrose in the UK.
That someone else would offer something like the Dash and connect this functionality as a platform to other retailers makes perfect sense, one would think. In fact, it seems, the concept behind Dash/Hiku emerged at the same time at two different places. TechCrunch:
Founded in 2012 by two ex-Palm engineers, Rob Katcher and Rajan Bala, hiku actually debuted just ahead of Amazon’s Dash, but will likely benefit from Amazon’s entry in the space as Dash’s existence is helping to educate consumers about how shopping gadgets can work.
This latest version of hiku’s scanner includes a number of improvements over the debut release,including instant-on for faster scanning and voice recording, improved audio capture for better voice recognition, and greater resistance to spills, the company says.
It is interesting that a giant, 20 years old company like Amazon comes up with concepts like the Dash and the Dash buttons at the same time a startup does. It is saying something very positive about the organizational structure of Amazon.
Speaking of the Dash buttons, lets start counting down the time until Hiku introduces the Hiku buttons. 10, 9, ..