Wi-Fi routers are usually boring. Designed to look as innocuous as possible, designers basically go for the “black box with lights on it” approach and head home. Not Airfy.
Originally introduced at Disrupt Berlin, Airfy is one of the sexiest Wi-Fi routers I’ve ever seen. It looks like a cross between an Art Deco lamp and a Legend of Zelda Rupee. While the device is a fully-compliant 802.11ac/n router, it also acts as a Bluetooth iBeacon and allows you to set up a sort of local, wireless point-of-sale system in your office or shop. Using a mobile app, the service supports mobile payments via a proprietary POS gateway. Finally, the device can also act as a shopping aid.
Not running a corner shop? The Airfy also has 50 built-in LEDs that light up when various things happen on your system. For example, you can have it change color for Facebook updates, commerce sales, or phone calls and you can use IFTTT to program interactive features. You can also add features like “paid” surfing, commercial-based free wi-fi (users can watch a quick commercial to log into your router) and the data is WPA2 encrypted. As a stretch goal the team will add a camera to the mix, allowing you to use the router as a home security device and a built-in audio out for wireless streaming. In short, they stuck everything in here but the kitchen sink.
The team is looking for $169 for the 802.11N model and their standalone beacons will cost $49. They are looking for $100,000 and have raised $2,000 so far. The site is a bit nebulous as to how they’re going to pull off their most exciting features – especially the virtual POS system – but that’s what Indiegogo is for. Considering we’ve seen these routers in the flesh and came away impressed, however, I’m sure the team will figure out all the vagaries before they hit the stores.