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AWS Intros IoT Button for the Enterprise

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) has officially introduced the IoT Button Enterprise Program, now in a limited preview.

First announced at the company's re:Invent conference in November, the enterprise program lets organizations order and deploy actual physical, Wi-Fi-connected buttons that can be clicked by customers to trigger cloud-based services.

Based on the popular Amazon Dash Button designed to simplify the process of supply replenishment or ordering products, the programmable device can serve as an onramp to use services such as AWS IoT, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon SNS without having to resort to writing device-specific code.

In the case of the new enterprise program, instead of just, say, ordering more printer ink or something, organizations can do things like:

  • Let customers easily equest a callback from a customer service agent.
  • Provide a call-for-assistance button in retail stores or restaurants.
  • Improve inventory systems by capturing products amounts for inventory.
  • Boost healthcare applications such as alert or notification systems for the disabled or elderly.
  • Interface with Smart Home systems to turn devices on and off such as turning off outside lights or opening the garage door.
  • Enhance guest check-in/check-out systems.

The enterprise program is built around the company's AWS IoT Button, first introduced in a limited release program last May before selling out its inventory within hours.

The technical workflow for the button is described thusly:

  • A button is clicked and secure connection is established with AWS IoT with TLS 1.2.
  • The button data payload is sent to AWS IoT Device Gateway.
  • The rules engine evaluates received messages (JSON) published into AWS IoT and performs actions or trigger AWS Services based defined business rules.
  • The triggered AWS Service executes or action is performed.
  • The device state can be read, stored and set with Device Shadows.
  • Mobile and Web apps can receive and update data based upon action.

Upon signing up for the limited access enterprise program, AWS and parent company Amazon take care of technical details like button logo branding, AWS IoT thing creation, obtaining certificates creating keys, and adding certificates to buttons.

An extensive run-through of the program is available in a blog post published last week.

"With the AWS IoT Button Enterprise Program, enterprises can use a programmable AWS IoT Button to increase customer engagement, expand applications and offer new innovations to customers by simplifying the user experience," the company said in the blog post. "By harnessing the power of IoT, businesses can respond to customer demand for their products and services in real-time while providing a direct line of communication for customers, all via a simple device."

Original, first-generation AWS IoT buttons are available now, while second-generation buttons -- sporting better battery life and more available clicks -- are expected to become generally available early next month.

More technical information about the IoT button is available in a developer guide and AWS IoT Device SDK documentation.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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