Over at Amazon, their Dash Smart Shelf is featured in their deals of the day listings, with each size discounted to $11.99.
I have never heard of the Amazon Dash Smart Shelf, and so I took a closer look.
The Dash Smart Shelf actually sounds to be a neat concept, and I found myself wondering: who could use something like this, and where?
There are 3 sizes:
- Small Dash Smart Shelf
- 7″ x 7″
- 30 lbs max weight capacity
- Medium Dash Smart Shelf
- 12″ x 10″
- 60 lbs max weight capacity
- Large Dash Smart Shelf
- 18″ x 13″
- 200 lbs max weight capacity
Basically, you set up the Amazon Dash Smart Shelf to hold a specific consumable-type product. When supplies get low, the Dash automatically replenishes it with a reorder.
Let’s say a bottle of juice weighs one pound. Twenty bottles weigh twenty pounds. The Dash Smart Shelf is essentially a smart scale that regularly weighs the product and extrapolates how many you have left.
There is an AC adapter available, but the built-in batteries are said to last 2+ years.
You don’t have to opt for automatic reorders – Amazon also allows you to simply set it up for automatic notifications when you are running low on something.
The idea is that with the Amazon Dash Smart Shelf, you should never run out of everyday items.
Each Dash Smart Shelf can only be paired with one product at a time. Amazon also says that lighter items might require multiple quantity reorders.
The smartphone screenshots shows that you can set the reorder thresholds in terms of a percentage, such as when quantities dip below 20% of the “total order weight.”
In theory, this sounds like a neat idea. But is it useful?
I suppose it could help with managing supplies of critical items. Have you ever run out of certain supplies at your home or work, where this could have prevented that?
My mind keeps defaulting to automotive and professional paint shops, which might have to keep a certain number of mixing cups on hand. Could something like this help to decrease the number of extra cartons of mixing cups? But shops like that might not operate on an on-demand supply replenishment basis.
What if Amazon runs out of something when you need an on-demand resupply?
What if Amazon doesn’t have the best price?
What if Amazon simply doesn’t carry what you need?
This tech could be very useful depending on where it’s applied, if not for reordering supplies then for automatic notifications.
Consider tire pressure monitoring systems. Even if your tires cannot self-adjust their own air pressure, low pressure warnings are absolutely very useful.
These are on sale for $12/each for all 3 sizes, which seems quite good for a smart scale with built-in battery.
However, you’re limited to pairing the Dash Smart Scale with different products.
I could use something like this for tracking my own weight, or the weight of potted plants or seedlings to ensure adequate watering frequency.
The usage examples seem reasonable, but the smart scales also take up a whole lot of space. I never needed something like this for reordering diapers. I need to head to the warehouse club to pick up a couple of cases of 1-liter water bottles. I suppose that would be a useful use of a shelf like this, or I could continue buying a couple of cases every month or two.
Is this something you could use? Would use? How?
Buy Now via Amazon (All Size Options)
I wonder how hackable these are.
Nice! I was thinking the same thing. If someone hacks it and writes a simple app to display the output values on a smartphone, then for $12 one can get an inexpensive scale.
Ha … a smart scale?
Seems like a futuristic idea, but I can’t think of what I’d use it for.
I might consider a flat echo dot that you can mount or hang somewhere (no scale).
You can already do that… there’s a third party company that makes 3rd gen accessories that allow you to mount it on the wall… Warning: Canadian Amazon Site… Might not work so great for you.
Company is called GGMM.
Though, if you are thinking of using an Echo Dot to monitor whether or not something is still in stock where you have it, they don’t work that way.
These are stock-by-weight counters, effectively. Comparing them to an Echo Dot in any function is practically apples and sheep in difference.
Now, if you’re just throwing out the whole idea of a stock counter… I apologize, I might not have got the context of your comment right. These scales are effectively just stock counters. Anything you consume regularly, you can keep on the scale, and every time you take one, or ANYONE takes one, it’ll know how many are left, and let you do inventory at a glance if you have a bunch of them. If you just want to wall mount an Echo Dot… Check out the GGMM people… They seem to have you covered!
The idea is certainly valid, but it’s yet another product that exists because younger people are just too lazy to do anything (just had to put that out). Home use may be close to silly, commercial use is certainly a time and money saver. With this we are relying more heavily on Amazon as the all powerful god.
Your kid will yell when the gatorades are out, tell him to drink water. If the basket that sits next to the changing table runs out of diapers, then that’s your own fault of being clueless, or too tired from never sleeping because you have a baby. Greatest time in life comes after never changing diapers ever again. A robot diaper changer is what people need more than a scale telling you are out of diapers in a basket one foot from your baby’s feet.
One of the most valuable lessons my dad ever taught me was simply, “work smarter, not harder.” These represent that idea pretty nicely, and I’m not sure your first instinct to admonish younger folks as “lazy” is productive or the right take on this. If something can be automated or simplified in a world that is quite chaotic and time consuming, why not take advantage of it?
If there is one thing I hope I remember as I get older is to not always criticize young people as lazy. Was your mom lazy when she bought butter instead of making her own like her grandma did?
I’m not sure this Dash scale makes things simpler, since you have to remember to stack things just so. Plus, you have dedicate all the space to just one item – what happens when someone puts some Coke cans on top of the Gatorade? What if you want to keep your Coke cold in the fridge?
I’m certainly of the opinion that automation makes a lot of things better, but third-party stocking is never one I like. We’re going to assume the scale works as advertised and automatically orders when the product gets low.
Who’s there to verify the price? Is it 2% more, 3% less, or 15% higher? What’s to prevent the vendor from creeping up the price as time goes on? Will you ever be notified that you’re paying a premium for a product going obsolete?
There’s just too many points that a human mind needs to check to make something like this comfortable for my tastes. But I’ve seen similar systems grind to uselessness because full automation just isn’t the right solution for the end user, while being a cash cow for the vendor.
Yes, everybody values their time differently and while someone might be lazy and that is their business not mine it might also that one is too busy working or god forbid rather enjoys themself doing what the like instead of dealing with refilling the kitchen.
Having said that this is not for me.
I see running out of things as an opportunity to use things I have at hand.
Besides that while I am a smartphone user I draw the line at at any so called smart device in my house.
I value my privacy over my convenience there.
Exactly, the price fluctuations would be my concern. I used Amazon’s subscription service on dog food. I saved 5% off the orders and every month I would get the bag of food automatically sent. All fine and dandy until the price went up almost 35% on the product. Amazon doesn’t advice you on price changes. The order is processed regardless. Amazon did however work with me to remedy the issue.
That way of thinking is obtuse and stifles creativity.
I see it like this: if something makes daily or occasional tasks easier and automated, then I’m all for it. How often do you think people with busy schedules acknowledge that they have only a few gatorades left, make a mental note to go to the store and get more and then they have to find the time to go, or remember to grab them while they’re out.
Meanwhile, someone with one of these devices can have more automatically ordered and delivered when there’s only a few left. No effort on the part of the user.
I’m not against doing things manually, but I’m also not against having them done for me, so I can spend more time in the shop, or with family. It has little to do with being lazy, young or old. It’s about automating mundane tasks so you can spend more of your life actually living it, rather than running errands. Like I said, I’m all for it. I know I won’t be on this planet forever, maybe you will. I’d rather spend the time I have doing the things I love, and spending it with the people I care about.
There’s a lot of old thinkers that carry that same mindset. It’s ok to have an open mind.
The trouble is though …
The more smart stuff we have:
> the more time I get to spend troubleshooting it – smart phones, tablets, door locks, lights, speakers, tvs, cameras etc. no longer are things that ” just work ” or can work on their own
> they tend to all require power & internet to do their thing (useless when either or both go down)
> they go obsolete at an alarming rate (Smart TVs without software update locking you out of YouTube, Netflix, etc, smart cameras getting bricked because the company decides to discontinue; smart printers becoming dumb ones because they merged and development got canned; … )
> I’m sure there’s another down side or two
I can negate your entire point of view with the following statement:
Those who suffer Memory Problems are rarely YOUNG.
My 74 year old Mother SWEARS there are certain numbers of things in a SPECIFIC spot in a closet, pantry, or the fridge. Every. Single. Time. She is wrong. Her memory is such that the most recent activities aren’t what she can think about, only the ones previous to them.
So, when she’s down to 3 vials of insulin, and needs to contact the pharmacy to order more, she doesn’t know that at all. Even after going to the fridge and taking the number down to 2 vials, she is unaware she has to order more, and not call the pharmacy when she has absolutely used up every single vial. Either myself, or someone else, has to regularly look in the fridge FOR her, and manage her medications with the pharmacy.
Is she “Lazy” or “Stupid”… No… She’s 74, her memory is not what it used to be, and this is a completely natural part of aging. If I got her THIS SCALE, and put her Insulin on it, in the fridge (claiming it can last up to 2+ years without recharging?) then as she takes vials out, it will keep track. When she gets down to a minimal amount, say, 10% of the total there… Her Echo Dot alarm clock is going to tell her, and remind her, to order her Insulin from the Pharmacy. Or, it will send ME a message saying she’s low, and I can call the Pharmacy.
Simply for the sake of this, potentially life-saving, usage I would get a couple of these. Forget the reorder function. It can be set to Notify you. That can save your life just as much as a smoke detector can.
To believe this is a device ONLY for the “Young” and the “Lazy”… Is frankly a hateful and ignorant mindset, that needs to be called out for the wrong-headedness that it is. This device can be set not to order things. That opens it up to an amazing number of uses.
Now, if, like Alexa, it could have “Skills” it could learn, then perhaps the next iteration of this device might be able to re-order your fasteners, wood supplies, metalworking consumables, gloves, or even measure when your laundry basket is too heavy, and it’s time to do laundry. or weigh your laundry detergent and other supplies as you use them up. If nothing else this family of devices generates shopping lists for yourself, just simply by using the phone interface to read all the devices, and see how many are below 100% capacity, and low enough that you feel comfortable bringing it BACK to 100% capacity.
This is most definitely NOT for “Lazy” people, as it forces you to keep on top of these items while actively on the go. If anything, you can make a spontaneous stop wherever you happen to be during your day, and look at your phone to see if there’s enough left of everything you’re monitoring.
And how many “YOUNG” people do you think are THIS organized as to keep track of how many of ANYTHING they have? Will an 18 year old girl give up a chance on a great sale at her favourite clothing store, even though, even with a device like THIS telling her she has plenty to wear, she needs NOTHING from that store? No. Just… No… Skateboarders will always want more board care products, even a Violin Player will want more Rosin if he’s at a music shop. These are not back-stock type items that the YOUNG will keep track of. They will impulse buy whatever they’re passionate about, by hell or high water. They don’t need this scale to tell them how much they have, they’re getting more anyways. A shirt, a pair of shoes, hair care products, SOAP… Something catches a young person’s eye, they’re diving head first into that sale.
These Scales are for home businesses, and very busy ADULTS. This is for people who don’t HAVE the time between shifts, or between meals, or between CHILDREN, to count things they need. And even if they do? There’s no smart way to make sure they get EVERYTHING they need. Look at the break room coffee cups in the picture. Does that LOOK like something lazy, young, or stupid people care about? Lazy, Young, and Stupid look at that, and wait until the pile is gone, then they go to the supply closet, get more, or go tell their Manager/Supervisor that they’re out to go get more. The scale just skips the logistical step between the dummy who waits for the pile to be gone, and the Manager/Supervisor knowing they’re out. The Manager/Supervisor will get a notification to resupply before they have the Dummy wanting to take off on them.
Quite simply… if you’re looking at these as ONLY usable with every function turned ON? You’re not thinking, at all, about how the device will get USED.
Im a tool guy miself (proud of doing things myself, thats why I am on this website), but I cant think of how I could negate or debate any of your points…
This is a perfect example of a really, really cool idea with some neat tech that really has no objective use, in my opinion.
If an item is so critical that you need to keep it on a weight-based Kanban system, would you not have another stash somewhere else?
And I’d be curious as to what happens if, in grabbing one of the example bottles, you knock a couple over, resulting in a tip into “order now”. Does the system wait?
That said, if I worked somewhere that used these, I would inevitably find myself re-enacting the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark and seeing if I could swap a bag of sand for the item without tripping the alarms.
I would add that I love the diaper example pic. Is ANYONE in a household that has to change diapers not acutely aware of just how many diapers are left at all times?
That’s like NASA-how-much-oxygen-is-left type important info.
Seems like an answer looking for a problem. IDK, maybe it’s cool for certain commercial applications as was stated. Keep in mind that for massive companies like Amazon, these odd little proof-of-concept projects are worth the gamble. If they invest in say 10 of these projects and only 1 or 2 work out, that’s still a success in the long run as the profits from the 20% of successful products far outweigh the losses from the 80% that were duds. I appreciate the innovation even if it’s not my cup of tea.
Would be interesting for tool crib management. This way you would know which shelves had items taken out out missing.
For home use I feel like there is a group of people who keep their lives today enough that these would work. That same group of people probably doesn’t need reminders. By the time they are low on something is already reordered.
Now if they make one that will work for a pile of random objects that I may or may not need, I’m in!
I just used up all my dash’s around the house. I wonder if I can program a Dash to order more Dash’s?
My bad, I was getting this confused with those Amazon buttons they wanted people to use to re-order stuff. Guess those were too complicated…and unnecessary
I need a dash for cash! When the cash runs low, there will automatically be a large box of new cash on my doorstep.
And Washington won’t have to vote on it!
I like Amazon but I don’t need it in my life like this. I can already see potential cases where you take some cookies off the scale and an ad pops up on your other Amazon devices asking if you want to buy milk. No, thanks. Amongst my friends, I don’t know anyone who has the shelf space to dedicate to a single product that gets used often enough to require automatic ordering instead of getting it picked up in the weekly shopping trip. I don’t see this for use in med/large businesses since they most likely already have a vendor that replenishes all their consumables from coffee cups to toner to hand soap. Maybe a small business or a large household could take advantage of this but for me and the people I know, I don’t see it happening. I just hope they don’t have an awful ad campaign where they depict a “Busy Mom” or “Single Dad” overwhelmed by a crying baby, cooking dinner and being on the phone at the same time when suddenly the “Obnoxious Teen” starts whining because they can’t find their favorite “Product X” and then the parent makes a face like they have failed in life but suddenly they remember that Amazon Dash automatically orders “Product X”. They run out to the doorstep and find that Amazon has already delivered their favorite product and now all is right in the world. Thanks Amazon Dash! …. Ugh!
Sounds like a concept storyboard for a Amazon Seattle in-house MarCom manager.
Koko The Talking Ape
I could see this kind of thing being extremely useful in manufacturing, retail, all sorts of things. A coffee shop might never run out of coffee or milk, for example. An assembly workstation would never run out of supplies. A robot resupply cart would drop by as you are getting low.
The problem for me is that they talk only to Amazon. If they’re hackable, as somebody else suggested, then these things could become common.
“The wires on these earbuds are a pain! Let’s lose the wires!”
“So much better, just have to deal with the little case, charging it/them, pairing, losing one, losing both, way higher cost, avoiding theft, doesn’t always work. Where’s the charger again?”
“Do I look cool? Or do I look like a mark?”
There’s a point where convenient isn’t. This thing will no doubt carry a lot of similar headaches just to save what exactly? One might be useful to store my Google Glasses on?
No doubt it will be a lifesaver for a few special cases, though.
Don’t get me started on bluetooth headphones and ear buds … battery dead within a year or two, short amount of actually usable time per day or week, always dead at the wrong time …
Meanwhile I have dumb wired headphones from 20 and even 30+ years ago that require no power, still sound great … just need a device with a headphone jack … /waves fist angrily at new phone & tablet companies that now remove the headphone jack!!!
If your new phone/tablet uses USB C for charging, this thing will probably work too: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08536TSBL/
I’m all about working smarter, AND highly vested in the Amazon environment. We have Fire TVs, kindle e-readers, fire tablets, 100% Alexa device coverage in both houses and vehicles. Smart home integration. Virtually all forms of media, from books and magazines, tv and movies, to music and radio are provided by and though Amazon devices. We do much of our shopping there, to the tune of 300+ orders in 2020. All our staple items from pet foods to toilet paper are on an auto ship schedule. Everything is paid using an Amazon credit card.
All that, and I can’t think of a single place I would really use one of these.
I think the idea of automating the inventory of various household items is extremely convenient, and this scale is just the beginning. We’ve all been at the store and wondered “…how am I doing on xyz?” Instead of guessing and either buying more than you need or not enough, wouldn’t it be nice to have that data available on your phone?
It’s not far fetched to imagine the appliance companies selling refrigerators with a scale built into the milk jug shelf and in other locations around the fridge. Some of them already have cameras inside the fridge.
They better be properly dressed at night while accessing that fridge or the neighbors will post it online.
Brilliant idea by Amazon……to sell us more sh!+
Hey its thinking outside thebox. Not for me and probably not for most people but hey some people are gadget geeks and some people (ok EVERY one reading this) are tool geeks. If it works for you go for it.
With all the money they’re going to make off this thing you would think they would give us the scale for free*.
* nothing is actually free. The cost of the product could be factored into the increased profit margin from the higher quantity of goods you’re going to buy due to the use of the device.
I could see in larger markets this would tie one into the Amazon ecosystem.
For a coffee shop calculating the “rate of burn” (usage) of disposable coffee cups. Then the Amazon drone or delivery robot could deliver more cups really “just in time.”
There was recent article about the new Amazone warehouse being built in the Syracuse, NY area. In that article it said that Amazon wanted complete vertical integration – warehouse plus delivery to the purchaser. So Amazon could make sure that something was delivered on time – time of day not just date.
In the manufacturing world there is JIT – Just In Time delivery. Plus tool and part dispensers that require your ID and a scan of the job bar code.
If one shuts off the reorder function entirely, these are instant inventory trackers.
This is the first-gen “Dash” system. Imagine companies like Fastenal, Acme, Home Depot, WHEREVER, developing “Dash Skills” for you to download onto your Dash devices for products bought REGULARLY at these other retailers? Those retailers pay a fee for every such delivery, kinda like Skip the Dishes or UberEats, and the customers get to order and pay on their own schedules, whenever they see an alert and hit the “Restock Now” button in the interface.
Let’s hit on a tragic comedy from 2020, shall we? Toilet Paper. You get the BIG 18×13 Dash, you put ALL your horded toilet paper on it, and you can track your toilet paper usage for as long as the horde exists. When it gets low, like, pre-pandemic levels? Notification! With Reorder turned off in the existing model, you know to contact your supermarket or wherever, to find more white gold… Hand Sanitizer? The Tool place I’m using now, Atlas Tools here in Ontario, Canada, stocks 300ml pump bottles, 500ml pump bottles, and 4L JUGS of hand sanitizer. Put it ALL on the Dash, put it on a shelf somewhere, and monitor how much hand sanitizer you have left. Same goes for Nitrile Gloves. As the boxes empty, it starts reminding you to get more.
Where I would really like to see improvements is in Alexa-Style Dash Skills. Last I checked, Amazon didn’t own Spotify, Disney+, Netflix, or any of the Radio Stations broadcasting on the planet, and via sattelite… Yet Alexa CAN tune to all of these things on both Echo devices, AND Amazon FireTV Sticks. Just imagine a country-specific set of Retailer Partner Dash Skills… Now you can get a bunch of the 7×7 pads, set a container on them for fasteners, and fill your garage shelves with every individual sorted product. When it’s on the Dash, it shows as there. if not? It needs supply, or for you to just put the bin back where you got it. The notifications will remind you to CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF just as much as remind you to buy stuff.
You just have to think OUTSIDE of what Amazon has boxed you into. Rarely are things used for their intended purpose to start with. What is stopping us from turning OFF Amazon’s Reorder function, and using these as a complete inventory system for ourselves? The price, probably, but if it’s mission-critical, and these are sensitive enough, then they’ll measure your needs in real time!
I’m already hoping they are available in Canada, because I did state higher up, that my Mother often forgets to order her Insulin. Putting a couple in the fridge UNDER her insulin, will be a good reminder method. I can see a few other uses as well, all to do with health and hygene supplies.
Note: Not even remotely available in Canada. Canadians, don’t even try. Wait until the Americans are done their testing. We’ll get better versions when they figure out the mistakes.
Amazon ain’t your friend; it’s just a big and efficient machine to separate us from our money and hopefully deliver things that we find useful or necessary to our existence. These scales are just one of Amazon’s many tools for furthering their purpose–to sell stuff.
The old Dash order buttons were hackable by intercepting their signals on your local network and preventing them from being sent on to amazon. I suspect you can do something similar with these if the weight information is not encrypted.
As for keeping track of diapers it has been a long time since diapers were a regular household item for us. However, we always had backup cloth diapers and a washer/dryer if for some reason we ran out of disposable diapers. (yeah, yeah, I hear you young parent whippersnappers commenting that you can’t use cloth with daycare–whine, whine–you’ll figure it out in time).
So… You have a problem with… Capitalism and… Diapers? You know they make adult ones as well, for the elderly… Who regularly forget things…
Sounds like you are the one with the whining problem.
Ever notice how amazon prices go up after Stuart posts a deal and 100 people order one? What if amazon knew that 10000 households only had 25% of their favorite sport drink in stock, and since its been tracking that you drink roughly 2 bottles a day, there will be at least 8000 auto-orders tomorrow at 5pm?
No doubt some will find this useful, and some will hack this for their own purpose, but this is just another tool for amazon to track your life, sell you more stuff, and adjust prices accordingly.
Jeff @ Tool Box Buzz
This is like a one off version of the PAR system. The medical facility I work in (as a commercial carpenter) uses the PAR bins in all of their supply rooms. Each bin is hung on a separate scale and when the bin gets low, reorder from central supply is automatic. These Amazon scales are not a solution in search of a problem but an attempt to see if this automated supply chain can work on the smaller scale. Good on them I say.
This seems like a really interesting first generation product. I would be more interested in this device if it was not amazon specific. If this was a scale that would send a notification to my phone to re-order it would be great. It could send the notification and give me the option to directly re-order from the supplier or add to my shopping list to get next time at the store. I’m a custom cabinet maker and in my shop we have bulk supplies of various items like screws or finishes. We’re not in a position to have a full fledged inventory management system or Kanban system and something like this would tell me how much paint I have when I’m standing in the store and want to know If I should order one gallon or two. See, this thing should give you instant quantity counts. How often have you been at the store and wonderd if you have enough of an item for an event or something that popped up suddenly?
Jeff @ Tool Box Buzz
Does it only work with Amazon? Worth the $11 to find out?
It’s probably no use in a home environment. Except maybe for TP 😉
Realistically, it’s a very cheap automated Kanban system for a small to mid business.
Would I rather pay $12 for this to record critical items each day or a salary for a full time storeman? Honestly, it would take a fair bit of analysis to find out. Good first gen shot though…
Hmm, $12 one time fee or $12/hr to hire someone to do it for you. What to do…