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Amazon will allow smart washing machines to order laundry detergent

October 1, 2015, 3:15 PM UTC
A picture shows the logo of the online retailer Amazon dispalyed on computer screens in London on December 11, 2014. Online retail giant Amazon scored its first ever Golden Globe nominations -- a breakthrough in its bid to catch up with streaming pioneer Netflix. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Leon Neal — AFP/Getty Images

Amazon announced the expansion of its Dash service this morning, only instead of its slightly awkward connected buttons the company is revealing that a number of brands that will start using its Dash Replenishment service.

While the physical buttons were a somewhat gawky intermediate step toward frictionless ordering, the Dash Replenishment service uses sensors built into devices such as washing machines and pet feeders to automatically re-order placement products. This is a huge step for Amazon when it comes to snagging more of the consumers’ wallet and making commerce so seamless it’s something the consumer doesn’t even think about.

Amazon debuted Dash Buttons early this year as an internet-enabled small hardware device that allows customers to order things like paper towels and laundry detergent by clicking a physical button. At launch, Amazon signed up 18 brands (including Bounty and Tide) for the program, and the Dash Button set back customers $4.99. Also, Dash Buttons at launch were only offered to select customers. Recently, Amazon added more brands and made the Dash button free.

With a technology called the Amazon Dash replenishment service program, devices that are connected to the internet will automatically measures when usage is low of things like print toner, or water filters, and will order these items from Amazon without the customer having to physically order the items themselves. Payment is made through the customer’s existing Amazon account.

Amazon (AMZN) says General Electric, Samsung, August, Gmate, Oster, Obe, Petnet, CleverPet, Sutro, Thync, and Sealed Air have all signed up to add the technology to the devices that they manufacture. This adds to a number of other brands, including Brother, Whirlpool, and Brita, who previously committed to using the Dash replenishment service.

For example, Obe’s Pro Bowl weighs the amount of dog food consumed by a pet and will subtracts that amount from the size of a dog food bag. When supply runs low, Obe’s Pro Bowl uses the Dash Replenishment Service to automatically place the order for the dog food on behalf of the customer.

General Electric’s (GE) new clothes washer will connect to the internet and users can download a mobile app that allows them to control laundry tasks from their smartphones. With the Dash Replenishment Service, laundry detergent will be automatically ordered when supply runs low. Samsung internet-connected laser printers will monitor toner usage over time and toner cartridges will be automatically ordered.

Amazon promises that the integration of the replenishment feature is fairly simple, and can be started with ten lines of code. Amazon didn’t release a timeline for when these new devices would be released to the public. Previously, Amazon has said that the first Dash-enabled devices will start showing up in the fall.

While it was unclear whether Amazon users needed a Dash button to order things like toilet paper, the replenishment service shows more promise. For Amazon, the integration of Dash into devices is a big bet on the company’s internet of things strategy, and marks the first time the company is integrating its commerce into outside devices. As more every day devices such as washing machines, pet food feeders and printers are connected to the internet, technology like the Dash replenishment service will make these items smarter and save consumers time and hassle of having to re-order supplies.

For more on Amazon’s commerce strategy, watch this video: