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Announcing Fon COO Alex Puregger at Structure Connect 2014

I am very excited to announce that Fon COO and Director Alex Puregger is going to join us at Gigaom’s Structure Connect 2014 conference, which will take place in San Francisco on October 21 and 22.

Structure Connect is all about connecting homes and businesses with the internet, and [company]Fon[/company] is a perfect fit for the event: The company is best known for its crowdsourced Wi-Fi networks as well as shared Wi-Fi infrastructure it runs for ISPs and mobile operators in several countries.

But in recent months, Fon has been moving towards making Wi-Fi about more than just access: Earlier this year, the company ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Gramofon, a social music router that can be used to bring Spotify and other music services to your home stereo.

Gramofon Green Light

And this summer, Fon announced a new business Wi-Fi product that will help small and medium-sized businesses to offer wireless internet to their customers — Wi-Fi that could eventually be used for personalization and all other kinds of services. I’ll ask Puregger what’s next for Fon, and how the company plans to make inroads in the U.S. market.

Puregger will be joined at Structure Connect by speakers like Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson, Ringly CEO Christina Mercando, 3DRobotics CEO Chris Anderson, Sonos CEO John Macfarlane, Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman and many others.

Buy your ticket by October 10, and you’ll be able to get $100 off the full ticket price.

One Response to “Announcing Fon COO Alex Puregger at Structure Connect 2014”

  1. I used to be Fon’s most widely-read English language fan blogger at elfonblog.fondoo.net. They have a consistent history of hawking random, pointless devices like this. As with their earliest routers, they appear to buy up discontinued factory seconds and have them re-badged to the “Fon” name. Fon’s latest “innovation” would appear to be whatever the respective original companies gave up on. Fon is extremely skilled at describing their features and goals in positive ways which do not match the reality of their policies. In other words, verify every damn thing they say independently. They “forget” to mention certain important conditions, so they can get out of their promises. Also, ask your spokeswoman if she isn’t CEO Martin Varsavsky’s wife, it slips her mind to mention it. And Google her “Fon origin story” to see if it isn’t a complete and dishonest reboot of what actually happened. And ask her why Fon tells the Press that their name is in honor of the Fon indigenous tribe of N.Africa (rivals of the Zulu).

    You think I’m crazy? Fon (pronounced “phone” originally, not “fawn” as they do now) pre-launch intended to distribute free Linux software so volunteers could create a network of wifi hotspots for VOIP calls. A poor-man’s femtocell system with bargain rates. There are still some Varsavsky interviews about this that can be found online. They switched to selling wifi routers in the guise of offering a way for members to make money. This got Fon’s network deployed at the expense of it’s members. Members pay for the equipment, provide the backhaul, locations, maintenance and potentially local promotion. Then, Fon circumvented the profit-sharing system in several ways and also started giving free access to corporate “partners” for it’s own profit. It’s “Linus” and “Bill” members WERE DUPED!

    They’ve given up on VOIP. They’ve given up on wireless handsets. They’ve given up on embedded bittorrent routers. They’ve given up on mesh networking. They’ve given up on “social routers” whatever that was supposed to mean. They’ve “gone back to basics” with a simple router with secondary “guest” SSID multiple times, as these factory seconds turn up on the market. It’s totally random. Point out to me the great cry and demand for yet another Internet jukebox? Do most people even use stand-alone stereos any more? No. Fon should have started by offering instant hotspots for businesses years ago. They’re trailing the industry by breaking out into this now.

    Lastly, DO NOT look to Fon for personalization options! They used to insist, to the point of censoring their online forums, that their hotspot landing pages were “fully customizable.” This actually meant you could insert a very short, small-print sentence into the bottom or bottom-right of your ugly hotspot page, and replace the embedded Youtube videos with ones of your own. The hotspot pages are especially awful on smartphone screens, and logging in requires lots of unnatural scrolling and jumping back. The Fon member community got nowhere with trying to help Fon shape the look-and-feel of the service. The forums were ignored until the original fans left, then a second time rebooted at a new address so the issues and complaints could all be swept under the carpet. Fon is all about hype, and then they treat you like peasants after you’ve paid for your membership to their really lame club.