When I came across the Bttn on Indiegogo, I was immediately reminded of the "Easy Button" from Staples. For those unfamiliar with that advertising campaign, it features customers wanting to undertake a variety of tasks, and all the Staples employee has to do to help is push a big red button.
While you can actually buy your very own Easy button for less than $7, it doesn't really do anything except light up when you touch it.
Not so with Bttn.
The idea behind the big, friendly-looking button out of Helsinki, Finland, is that you connect it to the Internet either through Wi-Fi or by inserting a 3G sim card that can access the Net via cell signals. Once the device is connected, you can log on to my.bt.tn and configure your Bttn for a variety of tasks.
You can, for example, set it to send a text message when pushed. It could also auto-text a standing order to your favorite pizza joint (people have dreamed up), or text the local taxi service all the details it needs to pick you up.
The Bttn will also integrate with Internet-connected devices that are OpenHome- and SmartThings-compliant, so you can program it to say, turn on the coffee pot, your music and the lights in the bathroom immediately upon waking.
Additionally, Bttn will integrate with IFTTT and Zapier, two Web automation services that let you create customized cause-and-effect relationships between various services on the Web (for example, you can tell IFTTT to email you the link to any video you add to your favorites list on YouTube). So with some creativity, you can set your Bttn to do any one of a variety of tasks at your computer.
A $99 pledge signs you up to get a Bttn in either red, blue, green or yellow. It runs on four AA batteries or a USB charging cable, neither of which is included. So far the makers have raised close to $10,000 of their $50,000 goal with almost a month left, so things are looking pretty good.
Too bad there's not a button for transferring $50,000 to your bank account. Now that's something I could really get behind.