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This Water Pitcher Orders New Filters From Amazon Using Wi-Fi. It Could Be the Future of Shopping.

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Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

The future often seems silly in the present. Case in point: Brita’s new “smart” water pitcher.

The “device” is indeed primarily a water pitcher, designed — you know — to clean and hold water. But the pitcher, which goes on sale today on Amazon, does something else that helps explain why Brita is charging $45 for it, compared to $20 to $32 for other Brita pitchers that hold the same amount of water.

It connects to the Internet and senses when a given filter has purified all the water it was meant to, after about 40 gallons. It then pings and automatically orders a new $5.99 filter for delivery. Call it programmatic commerce, and expect it to be around for a long time.

The partnership between Brita and Amazon is part of a bigger initiative at Amazon dubbed the Dash Replenishment System. The goal is to allow products like water pitchers, computer printers and pet food dispensers automatically to order related, necessary items from Amazon without a human lifting a finger (after a one-time setup). For a computer printer, ink. For a pet food dispenser, pet food. For an empty Doritos bag, more chips? Not yet.

At a higher level, it fits perfectly into Amazon’s ongoing mission to shrink the time between wanting and buying. What started with one-click purchasing has escalated to Wi-Fi connected physical buttons to order mac and cheese, reordering items by talking to the Amazon Echo speaker and now filter-summoning pitchers.

This is a little scary for both sides, as shoppers rely on one destination for more and more of their purchases, and product makers for more and more of their sales. For now, Brita just sees upside.

“You want to make your brand more relevant and appealing to young consumers,” said Ed Huber, Brita’s general manager. “And they’re interested in devices that take steps out.”

He said if things go well, he could see Brita adding the capability to more of its pitcher models down the line.

Still, the whole thing may very well feel uncomfortable to some; how lazy are we, after all, that we need a machine to order its own filters?

But it’s hard to look in the future and think things should get less convenient. Even if that starts with a water pitcher that shops for you.

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