Fixing Wi-Fi with Social

11/12/2012

Here’s an elegant solution to the Wi-Fi problem: Take it social with Instabridge.

If you have been following me for a while, you know that I have a love-hate relationship with Wi-Fi. Essentially, I think Wi-Fi is broken in our day and age. There are many who are trying to fix it – mainly by becoming our Wi-Fi service providers.

I’ve bumped into a really interesting startup that tries to fix Wi-Fi in a social way: Instabridge. If you want to know what it is and how it works the easiest way is this video:

The sad thing is that it only works in the Nortics and Baltics, which doesn’t suite me that well. Niklas Agevik, the CEO and Founder of Instabridge, was kind enough to send me an APK to install on my Android phone. While I haven’t been able to share it with my friends in any reasonable way, I did play with it a bit and here are a few thoughts about this neat idea:

  • The app is slick. The implementation is fluid and simple. I can definitely see this as something I share with all of my friends who come to my home: easy to give access and a way to strike a conversation while at it.
  • This is a solution to a rather small problem: among friends and family it becomes easy to share Wi-Fi. When abroad, I need it the most, but can use it the least.
  • There are two kinds of companies that can win Wi-Fi: Operators with considerable mobile or wireline footprint; or companies like Instabridge with a simple, social attraction to them – the rest are just white noise at the end of the day.
  • No iPhone app. I wonder if this is because it is impossible to do on the iPhone due to missing access to certain APIs or is it just an Android-first development effort.
  • I WANT THIS WORKING HERE IN ISRAEL YESTERDAY. And I want to be the one telling my friends about it 🙂

The most important insight? There are a lot of ways these days to overcome problems that carriers don’t solve. It isn’t about OTT anymore – it is about every conceivable service – including access to the network itself.

I wish Niklas and his team all the best with this one – If you need an evangelist here in Israel – I am your guy.

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