Crowdfunding a Third-Party Dash Button

Alasdair Allan
3 min readJun 6, 2017

--

The Amazon Dash Button was launched two years ago on April 1st. The initial reaction by a lot of people was that it could well be a joke, John Gruber said at the time that “I’m not sure whether this is genius, or the stupidest thing Amazon has tried yet.” But despite the scepticism there were some people convinced that it was the smartest thing that Amazon could do, for instance Simon Wardley commented that, “Supermarkets will be an antiquated concepts faster than you realise.”

Amazon Dash and IoT Buttons (📷: Visybl)

Either way, in the two years since its release, makers have taken the little Internet-connected button into their hearts, and into their homes. But maybe you’ve wished it was just a little bit easier to make it do things it wasn’t really designed to do? That’s where the goButton funding now on Kickstarter might be of help.

The Visybl goButton (📷: Visybl)

The company behind the button is Visybl, whose main business is asset tracking for enterprise companies using Bluetooth LE beacons. The idea is to offer customizable Dash buttons for small businesses—for example to request a package is picked up, or to log a maintenance call for the office printer—and they’ve gone ahead and partnered with Amazon to do that. In fact the goButton is built using exactly the same hardware as the Amazon’s own Dash Button, only the software and the labelling is different.

The goButton button is scheduled to ship in October, and ties into the company’s cloud backend allowing you to configure it easily to talk to a large number of other cloud services ranging from IFTTT, all the way up to enterprise CRM applications like Salesforce and Zoho.

Of course the goButton isn’t the only way to get your hands on an easily programmable version of the Dash Button. Either because it was the plan all along, or Amazon took notice of all the hacks that were happening, in May last year the AWS IoT Button was released.

Hacker creates his own “Starbucks Button.” (📹: Ryan Pickren)

A programmable button based on the original Dash Button it’s designed to let developers get started with designed for developers to get started with AWS IoT and other Amazon Web Services without writing device-specific code, and with it you can do anything from order a coffee to keep score in a ping pong match.

Hacking the Dash Button to order Domino’s Pizza. (📹: Brody Berson)

If you’re a heavy user of IFTTT—a service that’s fast becoming a defacto connecting pipe for the Internet of Things—it’s also pretty easy to connect the AWS IoT Button with the IFTTT Maker Channel. Which means that it can be connected to practically anything else, with just a little code.

If you’re looking to deploy tens, or hundreds, of buttons you might want to take a serious look at Visybl’s goButton on Kickstarter, especially given the company’s experience in asset tracking. Need just one? Pick up an AWS IoT Button for $20 and get hacking.

--

--

Alasdair Allan

Scientist, Author, Hacker, Maker, and Journalist.