Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has applied for a patent for technology similar to the Amazon Dash one-button ordering device, its latest swing at the Seattle-based ecommerce behemoth, CB Insights has reported.
Originally filed last October, the application details a system that would require even less effort than Amazon's, which launched more than two years ago and now can be used for more than 300 products. The Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer's technology would require less effort than Amazon's, integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) into the products themselves without requiring user input or the push of a button for reordering, making the process automatic.
The application describes adding IoT tags to products based on Bluetooth, radio frequency, infrared, near-field communication or other technology. Tags could monitor product usage and auto-order replacements or refills, as well as track expiration dates and product recalls.
Additional capabilities could include gathering customer data, with tags tracking usage frequency and times, as well as developing personalized advertising, predicting demand management and developing more detailed customer profiles.
Walmart's new filing isn't its first IoT-focused one in recent times: CB Insights shows that the company has also filed patents for technology such as augmented-reality glasses to guide shoppers through the store and build AR shopping lists. It has additionally applied for patents concerning drones, with the intent of using them for moving products around stores or monitoring fresh produce.