Last week I was at the Target Open House in San Francisco checking out some of the gadgets in the Garage section, which is an area in the back of the store dedicated to new and beta devices. The humble toilet paper roll below caught my eye because I could see the mocking headlines associated with a connected toilet paper holder.
And yet … this $9 holder and an associated soap dispenser were there to detect when the product it was associated with was out so it could order more automatically. It’s an Amazon Dash Fulfillment Service without the Amazon app or the Dash button. Imagine how freeing that might be for someone who lives with roommates, an AirBnB host or someone who manages office bathrooms. However, the device is linked to a single toilet paper provider, which actually has me wondering why Procter & Gamble or Kimberly Clark doesn’t give these away. It’s also a reminder that in a connected world, evaluating the cost of a device is going to become more like evaluating the cost of a service.