Xirrus the leading provider of next generation, cloud-enabled Wi-Fi networks, provided the wireless hardware and software infrastructure for an innovative, visually-impacting art installation called Bloom. Created by Squidsoup, an international group of artists, researchers and designers working with digital and interactive media experiences, Bloom debuted in Kew Gardens, Southwest London, before transferring to Canary Wharf. It will make its first international appearance in Mexico City this summer.
Bloom comprises around one thousand individual Wi-Fi-enabled IoT light bulbs that sway in the wind and spread a gentle glow each evening. Every light contains a GPS chip, accelerometer and speakers, which combine to create a digital symphony of light and sound against the backdrop historic and iconic landscapes.
Bloom initially played a key part in bringing Kew Gardens' recent Winter Trail to life. A UNESCO Site, Kew is home to one of the world's largest and most diverse botanical collections. Following the launch, Bloom transferred to the iconic Canary Wharf at the heart of London's Docklands and banking district, where it created a dramatic counterpoint to the area's urban, contemporary skyline.
With over 1.5 million people visiting Kew Gardens each year and around 600,000 people witnessing the display on their way home from Canary Wharf every week, Bloom had to provide a flawless display night after night. Not a simple task for any digital art installation, but Bloom's designers had the added pressure of maintaining a strong and consistent Wi-Fi signal with 1,000 simultaneous outdoor IoT connections in order to successfully deliver the full power of the spectacle.
"The combination of Xirrus Wi-Fi, GPS technology and IoT intelligence in each light makes every bulb location-aware. This allows them to receive commands from a central digital hub, while bringing subtle choreography and control to the whole installation," said Anthony Rowe, Squidsoup's founder, "The Xirrus Wi-Fi network plays a critical part in this installation, and allows each light to communicate over the network. This lets us bring each location to life in a burst of energy and sound that helps viewers to re-imagine and re-see the beauty of the iconic location in which they stand."
"Squidsoup needed a single Wi-Fi network with the capability to reliably connect over a thousand IoT devices across an open outdoor space, while also providing the consistency needed to ensure a stunning display each evening," said Jillian Mansolf, Chief Commercial Officer at Xirrus. "The Bloom installation also needed a management system that could centrally control each Wi-Fi device and fully-utilise the IoT technology present in each node. It's not often that you get to see such a stunning, artistic visualisation of what connected, intelligent technology can achieve, and we're delighted to be involved in this project."