Introduced in 2015 with the AWS IoT set of services, the button is a clickable device, similar to a one-button mouse, that can be used as a hotline for triggering services. In the case of a food delivery service, a customer could use the button as a one-click way to place her usual order, for instance. The button would use WiFi to connect to the Internet and place the request.
What’s on the back end, as AWS explained in the blog entry on Friday, is AWS Lambda, the service that calls up a function on-demand, running it out of whichever server happens to be available. (The “serverless” term refers to the fact that no one has reserved a server ahead of time to run this function.)
The button can trigger other rules in the AWS IoT sphere; it could place objects in storage or start streaming data on Amazon’s Kinesis service, for instance. In the example on the AWS blog, Lambda comes into play as a way to create and send a text message acknowledging an order.
This matters because serverless functions seem to be gaining traction, and the emergence of IoT applications — which could possibly be small but numerous — would make serverless functions even more important.
Circumstantial evidence of that traction came at Amazon re:Invent in November, where AWS announced Lambda enhancements such as the ability to string Lambda functions together (much like service chaining in network functions virtualization (NFV)) or to ensure that Lambda functions are run at a location closer to the user (much like a content delivery network).