What is the best bulk IOT button source?

Hi,

So I started using AWS’s IOT buttons for personal tracking projects but they got discontinued. Everything else out there is like Flic where each button costs a lot.

Has anyone found a good source for buttons in bulk (cost $1-5 per button) that ideally have some level of software layer attached?

References:

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I haven’t found one but I did a fairly exhaustive search a few months ago. The most promising option was this (but it didn’t pan out):


Prices range form $10 to $6.50 depending on quantity.

https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Reliable-Supplier-Programable-Mcu-ESP8266-OEM_60768073324.html?spm=a2700.7724857.normalList.28.60c752d97Dicym

I ordered a sample button but I could never get it to be recognized on my network and the company’s customer support was very poor. Also, it required me to use the company’s server to route the information through, which I didn’t like.

In the end, I chose to build a software solution that runs on old, cheap screens, like an old iphone5. I wrote a bit about it here:
https://eventloggers.com/blog/turn-your-old-screens-event-panels - there are a few photos.

In addition to the “virtual button” solution, I’m using Google Home/Google Assistant to record personal events. More on that here: https://eventloggers.com/blog/voice-logging-just-got-easier-eventloggerscom

I also teamed up with a friend and build some prototypes but we didn’t have the skillsets or time to scale the project (it was back in 22012) - I honestly thought someone would come up with a solution that I could leverage but so far, I haven’t found one.

I’m still very interested in a physical dedicated, cheap button, so if you find a candidate, please let me know.

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Thanks for the tips. Sounds like you went down the rabbit hole I’m in the process of now.

I was looking at Alibaba too but figured the software layer wouldn’t be there. Seems like this is a good opportunity for someone to step in and build a mass cheap button solution for warehouses and developers (although idk what the TAM here would be off the top of my head).

Sourcing buttons in bulk from Alibaba would be easy. The challenge of the software layer is making me consider Flic more. Or just bulk buying the old Amazon buttons registered for buying a product and hacking them.

I’ll report back what I find here.

Hi @davidhead, I’m catching up on old threads, sorry for the delayed reply. I know that @tblomseth and @jakobeglarsen have done years worth of exploration in this area, one of them may jump in to correct me if I misremember but the conclusion I recall is that there remains no simple button solution that is flexible, reliable, and cheap enough for ongoing self-tracking projects, at least on the commercial market. They have a prototype (pictured below) that is being used for research, but not in commercial production.

Screenshot 2020-05-13 14.25.13

Thanks for weighing in on this! Yeah it’d be great to hear from those guys on this project if they’ve been working on it for awhile. Would also love to see some of their insights if they’ve shared them anywhere.

I ended up just spending more to buy Flic buttons. They worked easy to pair with Zapier which was great. Definitely pricey though.