In what project creator, ad agency, Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty (BBH) is calling an experiment, homeless men were outfitted with 4G MiFi devices. Known as Homeless Hotspots, the participants currently roam the streets of Austin, Texas at the South by Southwest tech festival.
The 13 men chosen wear t-shirts that read "I am a 4G hotspot" as well as their name and the words, "I am a homeless hotspot." Additionally, their shirts display a code for logging in.
http://www.techlicious.com/fckeditor/editor/images/spacer.gifBBH explains that the suggested donation of $2 for 15 minutes of use of the human hotspot goes directly to the homeless bearer of the signal. The company likens their project to the Street Newspaper model, in which homeless sell papers in some larger cities. The difference is, however, that Street Newspapers feature articles written by the homeless on issues affecting them.
The project was created to raise awareness of homelessness, and only the homeless reap profit. BBH executed a similar, widely praised, project, “Underheard in New York,” in which homeless are given mobile phones and unlimited texting accounts to tweet their experiences.
What do you think? Is Homeless Hotspots dehumanizing or a effective way for the homeless population to earn a few bucks and let the public know more about their situation?