Outside of the Austin Convention Center this morning, I heard a man yelling, “Hotspots! Get your Hotspots!” After speaking with him for a while, I learned that he was a homeless man offering free WiFi hotspots for SXSW conference attendees who find themselves unable to connect to the Internet.
As you know, being caught without a WiFi connection at SXSW is equivalent to being forced to fight a minotaur without the aid of a sharp weapon: You feel frightened, vulnerable, and totally useless. To help people conquer the SXSW beast, BBH is taking the “Street Newspapers” model and giving it a modern, digital update. Throughout the festival, BBH strategically placing homeless individuals around downtown Austin with cards that explain the Homeless Hotspots program. Should individuals find themselves in a WiFi dead zone, they can contact the person that gave them the card, and the person will find and provide them with a hotspot for the suggested donation for $2 per 15 minutes of service, with all proceeds going to support the Front Steps Shelter.