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Dash Replenishment Overview

Amazon's Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) enables connected devices to order physical goods from Amazon when supplies are running low, like a printer that orders more ink.

By using Amazon Dash Replenishment, device makers are able to leverage Amazon's authentication and payment systems, customer service, and fulfilment network, giving their customers access to Amazon's low prices, great selection, and reliable delivery.

Smart Home APIs

Dash Replenishment is a capability of the Alexa Smart Home APIs, making your connected devices even smarter.

Using the Alexa Smart Home APIs a DRS-capable device is able to leverage the Alexa cloud to discover replenishment-enabled devices, manage their inventory and use the built-in inventory tracking and management technology to place an order for consumables, based on the consumption. Manufacturers who have already integrated Alexa Smart Home capabilities in their devices using the Smart Home APIs, can now seamlessly add the replenishment capabilities, with minimal development work.

Manufacturers who have not integrated Alexa Smart Home capabilities yet or have created a custom skill have the option to add Dash Replenishment with a few additional steps.

Through this new technology, Alexa-enabled DRS devices will appear in the Alexa app and report their inventory levels through a standard set of virtual sensors (InventorySensors). The DRS cloud will then do the computation to track the customer's inventory and decide when replenishment is necessary based on prior customer purchase and re-order history.

An example of this communication can be seen in the following diagram:

Understanding Device Sensors (InventorySensors)

Dash Replenishment through Alexa leverages a new set of capabilities also known as InventorySensors, that are able to report changes in the inventory levels via the Alexa Events Gateway.

Smart Home devices can replenish different consumable types (e.g. ink, dishwasher tablets, brush heads) and each device can have 1 or more consumables. Each sensor type can use a count, weight, volume or percentage value.

You can integrate Dash Replenishment through Alexa using one of three InventorySensors types, depending on the type of device and consumable:

  • Level based - This type of device stores the consumable product internally and can report its current inventory as a level, a total absolute value. An example of this would be a printer which can measure the total amount of ink/toner remaining in each cartridge. It can send something similar to the following: Cyan - 50%, Yellow - 25%, Magenta - 33%, Black - 50%.

  • Usage based - This type of device does not store the consumable product internally and as a result does not know how much inventory is available, it only knows when a certain quantity of inventory has been used. An example of this would be a coffee maker which takes coffee pods/capsules. When a pod/capsule is inserted an a brew occurs the device knows it has used 1 unit of inventory. The amount used does not have to be limited to a simple count of 1, it can could be a washing machine taking a variable amount of fabric softener and conditioner.

  • Level and usage combo - This type of device stores the consumable product internally but does not know the current level or life expectancy of the consumable. An example of this would be an air conditioning unit or robot vacuum cleaner. Some moving parts or filters have an estimated lifetime, after a period of time the device will report how much of the consumables life span has been used (i.e. typically as a percentage). When the consumable is replaced, the device needs to inform the user of the total level remaining in the new part.

A device can have multiple instances of these capabilities (e.g. a printer could have 4 InventoryLevelSensors to track Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow ink/toner).

Customer experience

Customers wanting to enable smart reordering on a DRS-enabled device can use the Alexa app (even when they don't own a physical Alexa-enabled device) to add the manufacturer's smart home skill and connect their manufacturer's account with the Alexa cloud.

This allows the Alexa cloud to automatically discover the DRS-enabled device and take the user through the selection of the products they wish to automatically reorder.

An example of what the customer sees is shown below:

From this moment on, the DRS-enabled device will be authorised to report the inventory levels every time customers interacts with it. An order will be triggered automatically by the DRS cloud when one of the consumables is running low.

Check the requirements

The next step is to check the requirements to integrate with this technology. Head to the Requirements page to see if you meet them.