Last week, Amazon announced the release of its AWS IoT Button, which the company hopes will make bespoke IoT automation easier to implement for mainstream users.
Based on the Amazon Dash Button, which can order a household product for you when pressed, the AWS IoT Button can be programmed to do any action that’s possible to achieve via the Internet. With either a click, double-click or long-hold press, the button could trigger an email alert, an order of replacement parts, or an emergency signal, if programmed to do so.
It is among a growing number of buttons that plug into the Internet of Things, a rapidly expanding network of internet-enabled, sensor-based devices that are objects, rather than computers. There’s also the Internet Button by Particle, which can trigger household tasks like switching a light on via the If This Then That service.
Using these services are great for household tasks but automating more niche actions, such as those that could integrate into business systems and processes, can require effort and programming skill.
Amazon’s button triggers events through Amazon Web Services (AWS): a robust, scaleable cloud service that was launched in October last year (see video) and is already heavily used in the corporate world. This means the AWS IoT Button could provide an important entry point to the IoT that agrees with enterprise software.
Systems with this service set up could integrate the button with a small piece of code and some set up. All this coming from a large corporate provides some extra reliability over start-up based services, although even those IoT devices that come with corporate backing can be subject to failure and discontinuation.
The button also isn’t without it’s limitations however. The Next Web has stated that the product’s poor battery life is reason to avoid the button altogether. Despite this, the button’s limited release sold out in a matter of hours and won’t be back in stock until 16 August, 2016. So, depsite its power limitations, it clearly meets a need or at least has piqued some decent curiosity.