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Amazon Introduces a Dash Button for Cloud Services Because Why Not?

May 16, 2016, 1:04 PM UTC
Amazon Web Services

This is one we should have seen coming: Last week, Amazon Web Services announced a version of the Dash button specifically to enable software developers to trigger cloud computing services.

Some background: Last year AWS parent company Amazon (AMZN) started offering programmed Dash buttons that consumers can stick around the house, near supplies they need to buy often. If they see that they’re running low on paper towels, for example, they hit the Wi-Fi-connected button, and the order is conveyed to the great Amazon store in the sky and slated for delivery.

Now AWS is applying that same Internet of things facility to its cloud computing services.

The $19.95 AWS Dash button targets software developers who may want to use it to connect to AWS Internet of things services, announced last year. So instead of going to the AWS console to wander among all the options, a developer can do things with AWS Lambda, which enables server-less computing applications, DynamoDB database service, Simple Notification Services (SNS), and other goodies without having to write code. The button does require some setup, however, according to the AWS web page announcing the new button.

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For example, according to the post, developers can configure the button to useful things around the house and office like control their Netflix (NFLX) account.

You can code the button’s logic in the cloud to configure button clicks to count or track items, call or alert someone, start or stop something, order services, or even provide feedback. For example, you can click the button to unlock or start a car, open your garage door, call a cab, call your spouse or a customer service representative, track the use of common household chores, medications or products, or remotely control your home appliances.

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The Internet of things, or IoT, refers to the exploding population of connected sensors and gadgets from Fitbits (FIT) to heavy-duty industrial machinery that feed data into a computing cloud of some sort for aggregation and analysis.

Amazon wants AWS to be that cloud. Microsoft (MSFT) is pushing Microsoft Azure for the same purposes, and Cisco (CSCO) spent $1.4 billion on Jasper Technologies to boost its IoT game—actually virtually every tech vendor is scrambling to paint itself as a go-to IoT provider.

For more on the Internet of things watch:

If you’re a developer champing at the bit for an AWS Dash button of your own, you’ll have to preorder: Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said the buttons sold out in a few hours.

This story was updated at 10:44 a.m. to clarify that developers can use configure the button to order up IoT services like starting a home appliance or a car.