Back in October, Blue Butterfly was invited to give a presentation at the Wired Event. The topic of Andy’s talk was TapToWfi, the app we’ve launched that enables users to access WiFi in cafes, restaurants, etc without registration processes or passwords and codes. Instead users tap their phones to one of our tags embedded in stickers, beer mats, posters or, if their phones aren’t NFC enabled, they scan one of our QR codes. Connection to a venue’s WiFi is then instant.
The Wired Event was utterly inspirational, in terms of content, form and delivery. It was an honour to speak alongside Farran Adria, Imogen Heap, Tim Hartford and Gonzalo, who, as the global head of Wayra (Blue Butterfly’s incubator), rounded off his introduction of us with the statement: “you have to kiss many frogs to find a prince”.
Days after the event, Blue Butterfly was invited to feature in the first ever Wired Pop-Up Store. The store was to run over five days in December in an arcade off Regent’s Street, the busiest shopping street in Europe in the run-up to Christmas – an excellent opportunity to get some decent user feedback on the TapToWifi app.
The Wired Pop-Up Store was a space celebrating the “New Industrial Revolution”, where products and manufacturing mark the symbiosis of technology, creativity and customisation. Unsurprisingly, internet connectivity was an underlying feature of the Revolution. But more important to the user perspective was the seamlessness of this connectivity. Seamlessness refers to the smooth bridging between physical and digital worlds, something that most retailers, leisure and hospitality industries, media businesses, transport providers, education institutions amongst others are trying to get to grips with through online presence, social media and new technologies.
Other products showcased included the Berg “Little Printer” that prints out your social media stream, and with Samsung as a WIRED Pop-Up Store sponsor, the 75inch SMART TV was at hand for people to trial with 3D glasses. S[edition] exhibited their first-of-its-kind digital art gallery, featuring limited-edition pieces from some of the world’s renown artists (such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Shepard Fairey) which can be bought and collected through the s[edition] app on smartphones, tablets and SMART TVs. Hiut Denim introduced punters to the History Tag which they’ve integrated into their expertly-crafted products linking each handmade item to its very own online log with its making and story.
TapToWifi fitted in really well with the vibe and collaborators of the WIRED Pop-up Store 2012 as well as with the 2013 predictions of the “New Industrial Revolution”. The Blue Butterfly team was delighted to see yet more prospects and horizons for successful integrations for NFC. For instance, Hiut Denim’s History Tags could have a NFC tag embedded into their tag or actual garment which would allow any NFC enabled device to access the item’s online log with a simple tap. At the event itself we provided TapToWifi for a Live Twitter Q&A session for one of Britain’s leading comedians; Peter Serafinowicz. Christmas shoppers, noticing Peter in the store’s window, came into the shop where they were able to quickly tweet a question to Peter using WIRED’s WiFi thanks to our TapToWifi app.
So all in all, the WIRED Pop-up Store proved to be a very successful week for Blue Butterfly, not least because of a final night treat for Andy, CEO of Blue Butterfly.
In the live podcast WIRED recorded WIRED journalists Olivia Solon and Nate Laxon were discussing the latest goings-on in the world of Tech and asked the audience in the pop-up store to answer the question: “What will the Top Tech Trends be in 2013?” And Blue Butterfly’s rather predictable (and enthusiastic!) answer – “NFC” – won. The prize was a new GALAXY Note II, generously donated by Samsung. Of course this phone features NFC and life in the Wayra Blue Butterfly pod has improved significantly.