From AWS IoT Button to Launchpad Amazon Is Increasing Its Options

AWS IoT Button

At its re:invent conference Amazon’s AWS also showed of the “AWS IoT Button”, which is sort of a white label Dash button. Amazon calls the AWS IoT button a “Hello World” sample device:

The button is a beta prototype for developers to get started with AWS IoT (beta) and learn about all the features of AWS IoT Platform without writing any device-specific code. Based on the Amazon Dash Button hardware, this device comes packed with tremendous potential to control anything connected to the Internet.

It could be used as a remote control for Netflix, a Papa John’s pizza ordering button, a switch for your Philips Hue Light, a feedback button for Airbnb guests to use. You can ‘code in the cloud’ and configure the clicks to unlock or start your car, call a cab, call your wife, open your garage door, track usage (diapers, baby sleeps), or remotely control your home appliances. It can be used as the “like” button, “mode” button or the “MayDay button”; you can integrate with third-party services like Twitter, Facebook, Twilio, Slack or many other things we haven’t thought about yet, such as integrating it with your own company’s applications and systems.

The button is still in an experimental stage:

AWS IoT Buttons are provided from time to time as part of AWS public events such as the re:invent conference as a “hello world” device to try out AWS IoT. We currently don’t plan to sell them. However, if you have a great use case for the AWS IoT Button and would like us to get back to you if buttons become available for sale, contact us at aws-iot-button@amazon.com

A developer who hacked the Dash button to order Uber rides now writes on Medium about using the AWS IoT button to do the same:

This new version is using the new AWS IoT beta which lets you create rules that will trigger different actions, including running AWS Lambda scripts, whenever the button is pressed.

This new button simply connects to your network and send a payload toAWS IoT whenever it is pressed. You can also set a different color pattern for the buttons LED feedback on success/failure. Now this is cool by itself, but the payload content is even cooler. That payload is a simple hash containing 3 attributes:

  • serialNumber: the button’s SN — nothing crazy here
  • batteryVoltage: the button’s battery voltage
  • clickType: the awesome part, it indicate if it is a SINGLEDOUBLE or LONG press

(..)

Press the button and watch for the Uber App on your phone. You should be able to see your ride being requested automagically. (..)
This is really just an example of what the new AWS IoT Button can do. I can’t wait to see what other developers will build with it. With the new AWS IoT platform, the possibilities are endless.

Amazon is inviting developers and hackers to play around with the buttons. With opening up the possibility of offering connected buttons beyond the Dash service, Amazon keeps all options open.

This is clever. Nobody knows exactly how the consumer ‘Internet of Things’ will play out. Making sure you are ready once you see an opportunity for yourself is the best position to put yourself in right now.

It is not hard to get a glimpse of what the Dash buttons and similar could be used for. Someone is using a hacked Dash button to order pizza for example.

Amazon is embracing the creativity around these hacks with initiatives like the “AWS IoT Mega Contest” at hackster.io.

On this note, Amazon just expanded Launchpad to the UK. TechCrunch:

Launchpad — a portal to market, sell and deliver gadgets and other products made by startups — is now live in the UK, opening its platform to local startups to list and sell their products.

Launchpad originally launched in the U.S. in July of this year partnering with the likes of Y Combinator, VCs like Andreessen Horowitz and Kickstarter to connect with early-stage startups. To that list it’s now also adding more local portals like Crowdcube and Crowdfunder.co.uk.

Its purpose is to get startups from Europe to list and sell their items, with the promise of giving them more visibility and solving some of the pain points of distribution, essentially providing an all-in-one Product Hunt, Shopify and Shyp experience.

Techcrunch calls Launchpad a “Product Hunt-Meets-Shopify-Shyp rival”. Launchpad helps hardware startups get the one thing they don’t have: distribution. It makes sense than that Launchpad started already internationally:

with the growing popularity of products from startups, Amazon has perhaps taken stock of where it might find itself outclassed by faster-moving companies like Shopify or Shyp, and it has taken a different approach.

From its start in July, Amazon lured smaller hardware makers to Launchpad with the promise of international distribution across 10 international portals. Opening the platform to non-U.S. startups is the complement to that.

Launchpad is a child of this era. In a consumer technology world that is rapidly changing a retailer better has good partnerships with the up-and-coming brands. Increasingly, comparatively smaller niche technology brands will matter. (Smaller in contrast to the giants of the 20th century.)

Launchpad could also in some sense be a preliminary stage to aquisitions by Amazon. How better to see what kind of the new consumer technology works in the market than to be one of the strongest distribution channels for it?

Given the coming convergence of e-commerce and newly connected product categories to new kinds of services (and the potential for Amazon by being vertically integrated just like with Echo, Fire TV or Dash Replenishment Service), Amazon is cleverly keeping all (hardware) options open with Launchpad as with the IoT button.

7 comments

  1. […] From AWS IoT Button to Launchpad Amazon Is Increasing Its Options […]

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  2. […] is AWS (now with dedicated IoT-APIs), the Alexa fund for investing in smart home companies and Launchpad, a portal to help startups sell their gadgets. Amazon is working hard to be there if a startup needs distribution and […]

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  3. […] From AWS IoT Button to Launchpad Amazon Is Increasing Its Options […]

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  4. […] is AWS (now with dedicated IoT-APIs), the Alexa fund for investing in smart home companies and Launchpad, a portal to help startups sell their gadgets. Amazon is working hard to be there if a startup needs distribution and […]

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  5. […] From AWS IoT Button to Launchpad Amazon Is Increasing Its Options […]

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  6. […] From AWS IoT Button to Launchpad Amazon Is Increasing Its Options […]

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  7. […] approach is to keep a maximum of options open. I wrote about this in regards to the AWS IoT button and Amazon Launchpad back in November of […]

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