Blue Butterfly Digital, partnering with Telefónica, is the developer of a new app that simplifies connecting to WiFi by allowing smartphone users to connect with a simple tap to a countertop, wall or window. There’s no need to register, remember a password, or enter your email address; just tap into WiFi and enjoy checking your email, browsing Facebook and surfing the Web.
Blue Butterfly was founded in February 2012. Its founders, Andy King and Matthew Bolton, had the idea while trying to connect to WiFi in a pub in Norwich. The app they developed quickly won the praise of business angels, telecoms and media companies; and secured the company an investment from Telefónica, one of the world’s largest telecoms companies. We’re now located in central London, just off Tottenham Court road, at the Wayra academy.
How Blue Butterfly hatched from its cocoon.
February 8, 2012 - Hotsource, a tech networking group in Norwich, call for entrants to their Near Field Norwich NFC showcase competition.
February 29, 2012 - In our local pub, the Ramsey Wells in Norwich, we start thinking over some NFC ideas. Suddenly, Andy, while frustratingly trying to enter the pub’s WiFi password on his phone’s onscreen keyboard, has a brilliant idea: what if people could just tap-to-WiFi.
March 22, 2012 - We unveil the idea to Hotsource, winning the competition with the judges’ unanimous support.
March 25, 2012 - We take the idea to Isobar Create London, another competition organized by O2, and win first prize with our tap-to-WiFi app.
April 13, 2012 - At the leading industry conference in Monaco, we showcases the idea to business angels, media and telecoms companies. Winning yet another competition, this time for Best Start-up business, we learn about Wayra, a technology incubator from Telefónica.
May 12, 2012 - We apply to Wayra and are successful. We’re invited to Wayra Week, an opportunity to refine our business with the assistance of business mentors from Telefónica and to pitch for an investment.
May 29 - 31, 2012 - Developing our business at Wayra Week, we meet loads of great industry experts who see the potential of our tap-to-WiFi app. We smash our pitch to the investor panel, securing a major investment and office space in central London.
What Blue Butterfly does for businesses
To businesses looking to improve the quality of their service and interact with their customers online, Blue Butterfly is an NFC-based communications company that enables its clients to offer secure hassle-free Internet access and effectively engage customers via social networks like Facebook and Foursqaure. Blue Butterfly’s tap-to-WiFi app empowers businesses to deploy new services to their customers, such as ordering and payment and information updates about the latest products and promotions, in a way that utilises all the functionality of their mobile handsets.
Andy King, CEO of Blue Butterfly Digital, managed a successful IT business before pursuing a degree in Mathematics and Business at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. Andy founded the company in February 2012. He is an officer cadet in the Cambridge University Training Corp, a unit of the British Territorial Army, and has received leadership training from the elite Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Owen King, COO of Blue Butterfly, has spent time working with the private, public and voluntary sectors. Despite his age, he has extensive international experience, having worked for a major IT consultancy in Shanghai, China; and advised companies on their internationalization strategies. He recently completed a one-year scholarship at the University of Hong Kong. At Blue Butterfly, he has guided the development of the business plan and successfully co-pitched the product to a panel of venture capitalists and business angels at Telefónica.
What is Blue Butterfly?
Blue Butterfly is a new technology company that has invented an app for smartphone users to connect securely and hassle-free to WiFi. With just a tap to an NFC sign their instantly connected without having to remember a password, fill out a form, or enter their email address.
This revolutionary little app also enables businesses to ensure that only their customers are able to use their Wifi, while raising their online profile: when they connect, users can be promoted to check in on social networks like Facebook and Foursqaure. In addition, Blue Butterfly’s tap-to-WiFi app empowers businesses to deploy new services to their customers, such as ordering and payment and information updates about the latest products and promotions, in a way that utilises all the functionality of their mobile handsets.
Why Blue Butterfly?
When we were filing our patent on tap-to-WiFi, we needed to register a company. We decided to name it after one of the cofounder’s jazz bands. Although the brand’s origins are quite novel, the name Blue Butterfly is actually very powerful: it refers to the butterfly effect, which in chaos theory is the process where a small change at one location can have big effects at another. In the same way, Blue Butterfly’s tiny app will transform people’s experience of shopping, socialising and accessing information. As a company, we identified early on the need to have a strong brand to drive adoption of NFC and use of our app, so the Blue Butterfly brand is a fundamental part of our business.
NFC stands for Near Field Communication, it’s a type of electronic chip that can exchange all kinds of data with other NFC chips when they're close to each other. It’s integrated into millions of new smartphones, debit cards, and soon tablet computers too.
Does my phone have NFC?
Most new smartphones have NFC. Juniper research estimate that by 2014, 300 million smartphones will be NFC-enabled. This is actually likely to be exceeded once more and more people realise the potential of NFC as a means to access of kinds of information on their mobile phone. We think Blue Butterfly is a huge part of this.
What’s the big deal with Tap-to-WiFi?
We think our unique tap-to-WiFi app is a game-changer for mobile, and so do Telefónica; that’s why they recently invested in us and gave us a new office space in central London. The great thing about our app is that it acts as an essential bridge between the offline world and the online world. At our meetings, we’ve talked about the how easy our app makes getting online at bars, cafés and other places that offer free WiFi, but that’s only the start. Here’s three use cases that demonstrate why Blue Butterfly’s tap-to-WiFi app will have huge implications for a range of sectors.
In a café…
This was the first case that we saw for our app when we had the idea. You walk into a high street café, tap your phone and you’re instantly connected to secure WiFi without entering a password or email address. But imagine this: you walk into a café, connect to WiFi and are presented with an menu of beverages; you order your coffee, just the way you like it, and skip the rush hour queue; your drink is paid for over the Internet with your mobile and you don’t need to hand the guy at the till your loyalty card because it’s stored on your phone. Even better, the next time you go in and tap into the WiFi, it remembers you and asks if you want your regular. This isn’t some futuristic fantasy, its possible right now with our technology.
At a Football match…
One of the great things about NFC chips is that there inexpensive, meaning they could easily be deployed on the back of every seat at a football stadium at minimal cost. Just a tap to the seat infront of you and your online and can enter instant-win competitions without doing so much as entering your name. Moreover, when you tap into the WiFi, a fan app launches inside the Blue Butterfly app, giving you access to all the info on the game – fouls, shots on target, substituions, player stats – and the option to vote for the fans’ man of the match. Fans can open a localized microblog that allows them to communicate with everyone else in the stadium and engage into some top quality banter. As well as all this, in-seat gaming allows you to place bets during the game, with live odds being delivered straight to your phone.
At a tube station….
We’re really pleased that WiFi will soon be offered across the London Underground; but we think that travellers’ experience could easily be enhanced with Blue Butterfly. You enter the station, tap into WiFi and are shown the latest information updates and delays; a route planner so you can navigate across the network; and a ‘what’s nearby’ feature for visitors, giving them to lowdown on tourist attractions, restaurants, and scenic places in the vicinity of the station.
All of this, and much, much more, is possible with Blue Butterfly’s tap-to-WiFi app.
Blue Butterfly in the News
Blue Butterfly and Telefónica see the huge commercial potential of our tap-to-WiFi app, but we’re not the only ones. In addition to winning numerous competitions with the idea, including one judged by the former chairman of Nokia at the industry-leading WIMA conference in Monaco, we’ve also received a glowing endorsement from Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson personally. He recently posted all about how much he liked the app on his Facebook and Twitter pages.