The Bttn Connects Businesses to Customers

Finnish company Bttn sells its eponymous products to companies that want to offer a quick and easy way for customers to beckon them.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sep 19, 2016

At some point when trying to accomplish some task, most everyone has thought, "I just wish there was a button I could press to…." Finnish entrepreneur and industrial designer Harri Koskinen had that thought. He wanted to devise a way for his elderly mother to quickly and easily let her children know when she was lonely or needed something. So he considered devising a button that, when pressed, would trigger a simple command to appear as an SMS text message on his cell phone and those of all his siblings: "Call your mother."

But Koskinen soon realized that such a device could have many uses. In 2014, he expanded this idea and launched a startup called Bttn. The company markets the device, which is available in two sizes and connects to Bttn's cloud service via a Wi-Fi connection, a cellular network or an integrated Sigfox low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) radio, for both consumer and commercial uses. For example, taxi companies in Europe and the United States have purchased Bttn devices and installed them in hotels to enable guests to hail a cab by simply pressing the button (once pressed, the button displays a message in response, confirming the order and giving an estimated wait time).

Pressing the button summons a Telia representative to call the customer to whom that button was issued.
This month, Bttn announced a partnership with Telia, a Swedish telecommunications provider. Telia has launched a new service dubbed "the Personal Technician," based on the Bttn, for its small and midsize business customers. Telia's customers can press the button to receive help with IT issues.

When the button is pressed, a Telia representative will call the customer to whom the button was issued and attempt to help him or her solve the problem via telephone. If the representative determines that the issue requires a visit from a technician, one will be dispatched.

Telia does not charge its customers for the service, and says that most IT issues can be resolved over the phone. The Bttn device simply makes it quick and easy for the customer to summon a call from a Telia representative. There are, in some cases, fees associated with technician visits to a customer's office, but those are irrespective of the Bttn's use.

Patrik Granström, who heads Telia's small and midsize business group, says Telia officially launched the Bttn service on Sept. 1 and is beginning to assign Bttns to customers who request them.

Bttn offers two versions of its product. The Bttn Classic, the original model, is just shy of 3 inches in height and 4 inches in diameter, while the newer Bttn Mini measuers 1.57 inches tall with a 2.72-inch diameter. Either model is available with an integrated 2G GPRS cellular modem, or a 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi modem. In Europe, Bttn also offers a version of the product with an integrated Sigfox (868 MHz) radio that transmits data over Sigfox's LPWAN.

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