This week, Amazon made its Dash service available to UK customers. Through Wi-Fi enabled buttons, you’ll be able to order toilet paper or washing powder at literally the push of one. Your delivery will then arrive at your doorstep within 24 hours, Prime style.
40 different brands have signed up and have buttons available for their products, meaning your home could soon be littered with these time-saving trinkets. A huge percentage of us already do our grocery shopping online, with levels of online shopping doubling in the past five years.
Now, new tech such as VR and AR is in the process of making clothing and furniture a fool-proof digital buy too. Shopping may soon take place entirely within the home.
But does the introduction of new technologies such as touch buttons, Nest devices, and the rise of VR mean our home lives are being gamified? Will it reduce the home to a high-tech, uber-efficient space?
Or will it usher in a new era of stress-free, chore-lite existence? (Despite the plethora of robot-gone-wrong films and TV shows, AI devices that can clean our homes and put the washing on aren’t far away.)
It’s exciting to think of all the time saving that can be done thanks to new tech. Boring tasks eliminated and time freed up to spend with your family or pursue hobbies. Older people who would struggle to bring back hefty items from the supermarket will be saved the hassle. Those who rely on public transport saved the tortuous bus journeys where they’re laden down with bags.
Smart devices in homes can also help prevent burglaries or call the fire brigade when smoke is detected.
There is huge scope for tech to transform domestic life – a trend which has been increasing in pace since game-changing inventions such as the vacuum cleaner and washing machine became common place.
But, as with all technological evolution, there are always concerns. There’s the environmental impact of on-demand shopping, for one. If each item is dispatched, shipped and delivered individually, that will have a huge carbon impact.
Not to mention the atomisation of communities and decline of high streets that from-home devices can encourage.
As with any new tech, what once seems scary or game-changing, quickly becomes woven into the fabric of our daily lives. Ask most people to try and do their job for a week, even a day, without internet and you’ll see them start to panic.
Challenge a millennial to traverse across a city centre without Google Maps, or, God forbid, call someone on the telephone, and their eyes will widen with incredulity. We quickly adapt to and then rely on the gadgets and gizmos that regularly hit the market.
Already littered with devices, the home is a logical place for technology companies to focus their efforts. Brands are salivating at the prospect of securing the repeat custom and data these innovations will bring.
Time, and the market, will tell if there is appetite for on-demand buttons or self-filling fridges, but whatever ends up catching on, get ready for your home to change forever.
Ran Berger is the CEO of Flat Rock Technology.