Homeless Hotspots

Discussion in 'Economics' started by JamesL, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. JamesL



    This week, thousands of people are flocking to Austin, Texas, to participate in the nation’s biggest festival — South By Southwest. The music, interactive, and film festival attracts people from all over the world. The SXSW tech-start-ups got both creative and controversial this year. A marketing company decided to conduct an experiment using the city’s homeless population as wireless hotspots in an effort to help festival goers stay connected during the high-traffic festival.

    Meet Clarence, one of SXSW’s 13 “Homeless Hotspots.” The middle-aged homeless man wears a shirt that reads: “I’m Clarence. A 4 G hotspot. SMS HH Clarence to 25827 for access.” Attendees can use PayPal to use Clarence’s hotspot. This service is the brainchild of BBH Labs, a marketing agency that suggests that using homeless people as hotspots is the present-day answer to helping the nation’s homeless.


    For a $2 donation, people can use these human hotspots for 15 minutes. BBH partnered with a local homeless shelter to test-run their new idea at SXSW on Sunday.

    “As you wonder (sic) between locations murmuring to your coworker about how your connection sucks and you can’t download/stream/tweet/instagram/check-in, you’ll notice strategically positioned individuals wearing ‘Homeless Hotspot’ T-shirts. These are homeless individuals in the Case Management Program at Front Steps Shelter. They’re carrying MiFi [short-range mobile wireless hotspots] devices…We’re believers that providing a digital service will earn these individuals more money than a print commodity,” wrote Saneel Radia, BBH Labs director of innovation.

    But, using the homeless population to connect through expensive tech devices soon sparked outrage — and BBH is facing backlash over their idea.

    New York Times reporter David Gallagher blogged: “It is a neat idea on a practical level, but also a little dystopian. When the infrastructure fails us… we turn human beings into infrastructure?”

    Critics took to Twitter to talk about the dehumanizing nature of the Homeless Hotspot scheme. The hashtag, “#homelesshotspot,” began trending on Sunday.

    BBH labs defends their idea — insisting that this is a charitable cause. BBH explains, “Each of the Hotspot Managers keeps all of the money they earn. The more they sell their own access, the more they as individuals make (it’s not a collected pot to be shared unless people choose to donate generally).”

    They also insist they are not profiting from the experiment in any way. I’m sure all of the free press is helping, though.
  2. i bet owners of that firm are southafricaners.
  3. Arnie


    So now these homeless people have lost the best gig they probably ever had, thanks to liberals.
  4. They’re carrying MiFi [short-range mobile wireless hotspots

    I think it's a great idea. I say we hook them up with street cams too! maybe attach something to the back of the coat with a telescope, a wind sock,we can check the way the wind blows, maybe fit their shoes up with rat bait and electronic bug zappers. These homeless people can people can be a dynamo fo technology, Forecasting weather, wifi cleaning up the envirnoment.

    If we do this right, we could disguise the homeless as shrubbery. Like they do with cell phone towers
  5. Exhibit A


    As shown in the picture is a homeless person disguised as art. Very fucntional, provides a soothing water background. Nice place to eat lunch. A guy like this with wifi and a street cam on board. nowhatimsayin?
  6. (sigh)

    All bets are off in ny. The homeless are too retodded in nyc according to latest mental health advocates.

    Apparently, better class of homeless in Texas.

    God bless Texas.
  7. Is the drugs?