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IoT Made Easy with Smart Buttons and Power Automate

Enterprises today look to new ways to automate and extend their business processes. Many find great success with using Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) or by leveraging a collection of apps and services in the Power Platform and Office 365.

IoT platforms are slowly becoming a part of this frontier. As companies look to scale their operations, the increasingly look to IoT for modern solutions.

Although IoT systems are still relatively new and often riddled with technological challenges such as connectivity, security and longevity, there are devices available on the market that can help enterprises carry-out a wide range of actions in just a few easy steps.

Smart buttons are one of those relatively low-cost and programmable IoT devices that can be set-up in 5 minutes! These buttons typically offer three events: single push, double push and hold. Each event can perform multiple actions such as running a Power Automate workflow.

I’ve been chasing these small IoT devices since 2017 and in that time I’ve explored a number of options made by various brands. There is a good selection of brands that make smart buttons including Flic, goButton, AWS IoT Button and others. Out of all of these, Flic certainly stands out by offering a Power Automate (Flow) integration. Their buttons are easy to use and I’m impressed by how quickly they can be hooked-up to a Flow action.

Set up smart buttons with Power Automate actions

Setting up a Flic button is self explanatory: just buy one, install Flic App on your mobile phone, create an account and follow the steps below to assign a Microsoft Flow trigger to your button.

Flic smart button
Select your button to setup actions
My Flic Power Automate Trigger
Select the desired event
Smart Button - add flow to your event
Add Flow to your event

As your final step, you will create a flow to respond to your preferred event. Flic’s trigger action, “When a Flic is Pressed”, links button with a desired action and triggers the workflow:

When a Flic is pressed action

What are the uses for smart buttons?

Easy enough? Let’s delve into some possible scenarios for using these little IoT devices in enterprises:

Replenish and re-order

Assign a serial number for a consumable product or a spare part to each button and place an order with a single click.

Send emergency alerts

Place buttons in various locations around the worksite and notify others of an emergency with a push of a button.

Book a meeting room

Place a button in a meeting room and automatically create a Microsoft Teams meeting with a push of a button.

Track employee happiness or customer satisfaction

Monitor sentiments around the office by placing two buttons in a single location to track happy/sad faces.

There are many more ways these IoT switches can bring functional intelligence to enterprises. Is your company considering adding smart buttons? I’d like to hear your thoughts on how these devices can bring value to your organization.