They say necessity is the mother of invention, but it sure helps to work with seriously talented and passionate people too. This became apparent when the team at Trigger Isobar set about closing the 1 411 km gap between their offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
“We like to be seen as problem solvers, so the challenge of getting the two offices talking was one the whole team jumped at solving. Similarly, we like building useful and delightful experiences using technology, after all, that is what we aim to do for our clients every day,” says creative director, Gustav Greffrath.
Coming up with the idea of a Tweeting Braai was the easy part, making it happen is where the talented people came in handy. A team of two engineers in the Johannesburg office spent a total of three weeks (after hours) building the technology in the agency’s garage with lots of input and help from everyone else.
Here’s how it works. A standard braai was equipped with various sensors and an Internet connection. This allows the Trigger Braai to come to life by tweeting about its surroundings. A thermometer senses when a fire is lit and sends out a tweet inviting colleagues to join the braai. It also tells you when the coals are ready for the chops.
Other sensors include sound, light, motion detectors and recently even a breathalyzer was added. Once the braai is lit in either city it notifies the other city and gives them the opportunity to follow the braai and the conversations. In essence it brings two physical worlds closer together using simple technology.
The system was built using the Arduino electronic prototyping platform. “We chose this specific platform because it is an affordable way to create a customised solution in a short space of time,” says Byron Verreyne, technical director.
Art director Peter Ringelmann highlights the importance of the Trigger Braai’s character. “The project was not only about making the technology work. The braai also had to have a unique personality reflecting the diverse culture of our agency. It has a great sense of humour which is brought to life in its tweets.”
The prototype is currently being used and tested in Johannesburg and you can find out more at http://triggerisobar.co.za/braai/