Today: a small but significant step in the direction of the intelligent home

by Stuart Sikes | Jan. 19, 2016

Today Amazon Dash services go live for a number of household brands including GE (washing machines), Brother (printers), and GMate (smart glucose monitors), according to Techcrunch. These devices will now, with your initial permission at set up, automatically order supplies when needed and will theoretically prevent you from ever running out of them again. Ever! The pace of disruption in consumer products is getting a little frightening. Why? I like being able to pop into my local office supply store, grocery store and pharmacy and I am worried that they won’t be there, as we know them, in five to ten years.

The winners? Consumers, like you and me, won’t be inconvenienced by running out of household supplies, and we won’t have to make as many emergency trips to the store to finish our weekly laundry or print a copy of our tax return at 11 pm on April 15th. Device makers will measure increased customer satisfaction as consumers see much greater value in these self-sufficient machines. Supply makers have now significantly increased the costs of switching to a competitor’s brand. Amazon, along with whichever of your credit cards is on file, is assured of increased transactions over coming months.

The losers? Brick and mortar retailers, suffering from “death by a thousand cuts” just took another. Non-connected product makers were just served notice that there is, after all, a very tangible, economic reason to connect the toaster to the World Wide Web. Coupon clippers won’t like locking into a detergent brand and missing the deal of the day. Those who feel that knowledge of their clothes washing or document printing habits is a violation of privacy will not play along.

The dream of a truly intelligent home that anticipates what I want before I want it is (quickly) becoming a reality. The Internet of things has come home, and, like taxi companies, hotel companies, car dealers and travel agencies, the rest of the consumer supply chain is about to be rocked off of its foundation. Let’s see who is ready.



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