Amazon today introduced a smart shelf that knows when supplies are low and automatically reorders them, a new twist on the tech giant’s Dash Replenishment Program most commonly associated with a series of internet-connected buttons discontinued earlier this year.
The Dash Smart Shelf is a WiFi-enabled scale for office supplies. When common supplies like printer paper, pens, or coffee are running low, the shelf can automatically re-stock them or send a notification to put in a manual order.
Amazon envisions offices replete with several of the thin black scales placed in break rooms, supply closets and other locations. The scales are only an inch tall and come in three sizes: seven inches by seven inches, 12 inches by 10 inches and 18 inches by 13 inches.
The device will be available to customers of Amazon Business — the company’s marketplace for business, government, healthcare and educational organizations — next year. Amazon did not say how much the shelves will cost.
The smart scale technology is reminiscent of that created by Bottomless, a Seattle-based startup whose scale is meant to hold coffee beans, and will automatically re-order coffee when the supply is running low. The company raised $1.9 million in April and GeekWire has previously put it to the test.
The Amazon device represents a shift toward businesses for the Dash program, which until now has been focused primarily on consumers. In August, Amazon ended support for the internet-connected Dash buttons.
First released in 2015, the Dash buttons were meant to be placed inside kitchens, laundry rooms, and other areas of the home. The buttons, sold at $4.99 each, would automatically order more detergent or paper towels with a simple push. Brands such as Tide and Gillette got involved, creating their own branded buttons.
Amazon has continued to operate the Dash Replenishment program for connected appliances. The company also created a virtual version of the Dash Button on its website.