The Internet of Buttons


Push the button, press the button… Buttons are everywhere in our lives. We press a tiny button to ring the bell, press another one to switch on the TV, and another one to call the hostess.

Yiğit Kulabaş, PhD*

Buttons have multiple functions, and thereby multiple names. Sometimes it is a key to switch on the lights, to raise the blinds. Sometimes it is a switch that controls a whole system. What about the simple play button that brings music and joy to your life? Or multiway switches enabling users to control the same lamp from both sides of the hallway? Buttons come together and become remote controls, keyboards. Nearly every machine, every tools have buttons on them. Basically buttons are the interface of life. Easy to use and available everywhere.

What happens when buttons meet the Internet? The Internet of Buttons is just another advancement that will trigger phygitalization and popularize the Internet of Things. Buttons make their way to the Internet instead of cables. Let’s have a look at 10 things to feel the Internet of Buttons.

1- #Order:  Amazon Dash is a game changer of this category. You push the dash you placed on your washing machine to order detergent. Amazon has many partners and designs individual dashes for each brand. Customer name, address, brand, quantity, price, order and delivery method… You give all this information once you purchase the dash and then you are done, no need to re-enter them every time. Push the dash and you are done!

2- #Remember: This time we have buttons called Droplet. It’s tiny, portable and illuminated. It functions as a reminder with its tiny green light. If you stick it on your pillbox, it reminds you to take your pill at the right times. If it is on your aquarium, it lights up when it is time to feed your fish. Once you do what you have needed to do, you press to your Droplet and the light switches off till next time.

3- #SmartDevices: Flic… One of the most popular new generation buttons. It is tiny like others and comes in different color options. What does Flic do? It makes any device that you stick it on smart. You stick it on your sofa, and now your sofa is able to play your daily Spotify playlist once you press the yellow Flic. The green one on the door is to switch off the lights. Basically there are no limits for Flic other than your imagination.

4- #Security: Most known example for security buttons is ‘Panic Button’. It can be either virtual like the one Vodafone offers or physical like the one you can attach to your clothing. Once you press the button, your current location and coordinates will be shared with the people you have designated in advance.

5- #CallOver: Unlike other examples is a huge button. It looks like the giant buttons that juries use in competition shows. It is mostly used in receptions for now. Sometimes you press it to book a cab, sometimes to call the courier to send a parcel.

6- #Find: This button called “Tile” helps you to find what you are looking for. It is portable and easy to attach where you want. You stick it on your wallet, keys, bag, phone and when you can’t find them you simply send a text and receive the coordinate information and a beep noise as a signal.

7- #HiddenButton: A button that you can’t press… Is it even possible? Knocki transforms the whole button idea! You can transform any ordinary surface such as walls, doors and tables into a remote control. You pick the surface you want to attach it and assign it with a task. Thereby, you are able to open the door with a simple knock or switch on your coffee machine simply by tapping on your bedside stand.

8- #TravelBuddy: You drive or cycle to work and you have to do couple stuff while you are on your way. Here again buttons are at your service. It is similar to Flic. You press the button and navigation system activates.

9- #Silence: Muzo is a project that is still under development. It is a button for silence. The minute you push the button, it creates a shield for sound insulation. Let’s say you are at a very busy and loud restaurant. Press the Muzo and you are away from all that noise, whilst no one outside the shield can hear you.

10- #Correspondence: This time buttons serve you for your routine communication. Your children are back home from school; they press the button to let you know. Or your husband presses the button before he leaves the office. You get a notification from your mom, after her plane has landed. All the buttons mentioned above are capable of doing this. “YO” is the first example for communication simplifying buttons.



*Yiğit Kulabaş is a businessman, academician and author. He is the CEO and founding partner of RE/Design Business. This article of him is translated from Capital. It was published in January 2017.

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