The Evolution of Budii


With the exciting release of iiNet’s latest innovative product, we decided to take some time out to chat with Stephen Harley, our Chief Product Officer and head of iiNet Labs. In this first installment of a two-part interview we discuss the origin and development of our new best friend, Budii TM.

While Budii has only just been released to the public, it’s actually something that iiNet has been working on for some time. So let’s start from the beginning – what was the original thinking behind Budii?

The original concept started nearly two years ago, after going to the market with BoB2 and BoB Lite. We looked for an approach that was in line with: good, better, best. BoB Lite is our entry-level product while BoB2 complements our customers’ desire for content, wireless, VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and broadband connection.

So we started to look forward – to the future of technology in the home. What was the next level? What could that look like? We looked at new opportunities around potential applications and services and what that meant inside the home.

These days domestic technology has a very broad scope. How did you decide which areas were important?

Each year, we attend a lot of trade and innovation shows, both local and international. From attending these and speaking with international telecommunications companies and service providers we identified several key emerging trends. These were in the areas of home automation, home monitoring and energy management, affected by the rising costs of utilities.

It raised a lot of questions that we were keen to explore. How could we assist our customers in these areas? Specifically, how could we help collect, interpret and use that information to save our customers money? We then took the perspective of exploring the type of hardware that would be required to meet this need.

We knew that in order to do this, we had to step up our hardware. Early on, we considered creating a BoB3 but it soon became clear that we were moving towards something radically different. So we decided to move away from the BoB naming convention. We had to start with a blank canvas.

Going from a blank canvas to the end product must have been quite a process. Visually, Budii is certainly very sleek and modern. Could you talk us through the hardware design process and how that distinctive look came about?

Given that we had always envisioned a very central role for Budii within the home, we knew it was going to be on prominent display. Whether it was going to sit on your kitchen work top or lounge room coffee table, it was critical that the design of Budii was aesthetically appealing.

We initially approached four Australian innovation design groups to tender for the hardware design. But critically and very deliberately, we didn’t tell them what Budii was actually going to do. We didn’t want to bias their thinking that it had to look a certain way. We wanted to take technology out of the conversation.

We wanted the designers to take inspiration from wherever they saw examples of exceptional design – whether it was from industries as variable as automobiles, white goods, or home entertainment.

We performed focus group testing and narrowed it down to four designs, which were then reviewed internally. Once the final design was selected, we took the design team through the technology specifications and began the process of marrying design with function and capability.

Did you receive any surprising early stage feedback during the design process?

Our focus group testing was completely anonymous. The groups didn’t know that the product [Budii] was for a telecommunications company let alone iiNet. In fact, when they were asked who they thought would be manufacturing the product – they were guessing brands like Apple, Sony, and Bang & Olufsen. That’s when we knew we’d hit the right chord from a design perspective.

Budii has been described as a “centralised communication device for the home”. In today’s digital era, we have access to various communication channels including phone calls, text, email, chat and social networking. How does the inclusion of a tablet as well as a home smartphone help us to connect to those we care about?

The tablet came about when considering potential home automation management. We wanted the interface to be customer friendly: simple and easy to use for every member of the family.

It was also important for that information to be accessible even if someone didn’t own a tablet or didn’t want to be tied down to a desktop computer. When you add other features like social networking, accessing contact details and even just making and receiving phone calls – it made sense to use a tablet.

Stay tuned to the iiNet Blog next week when we review Part Two of our interview with Stephen Harley. We’ll chat about the NBN and some cool new features that Budii has in store for us.

For more information on Budii please visit the links below.



  1. stuart says:

    Just make sure that budii works as advertised. Folks want usability and reliability yes and good looks. Bob2 was a disaster, do an Apple not a microsoft, get design and workability in the one package. That way customers will flock to you.

    • Wendy says:

      @stuart, BWAHHHAAHHAAAR – design and workability in the one package? apple? surely you jest, good sir!

    • Paul says:

      You state that bob2 was a disaster,but did not explain why you said that?
      We have bob2 and have never had any problems with it at all, There are always a lemon per bunch so perhaps you got that lemon but to say it is a disaster is a bit harsh.

    • Paul says:

      You state that bob2 was a disaster,but did not explain why you said that?
      We have bob2 and have never had any problems with it at all, There are always a lemon per bunch so perhaps you got that lemon but to say it is a disaster is a bit harsh.

    • Harry says:

      We have had a Bob2 installed since 9/2011 and it has been trouble-free. We do find its voicemail a bit lacking though.

  2. john king says:

    just got my budii and am checking it out. will get back to you later.

  3. Joe says:

    The first thing I thought of was the disaster with BOB. I hope you guys have learned from that experience, as I work in field servicing. It looks good and sounds interesting though.

    • Adam O'grady says:

      Hi Joe,

      Sorry to hear that you are not impressed with our BoB family of modems, we feel they complement most homes quite well and many of our customers seem quite content with them. If you have a particular device that is not working for you, give us a call on 13 22 58 or email me ( and we can investigate this further.


  4. Trevor says:

    Visually it looks great.

    We are now on our third (yes third Bob2 system), dare I say (hopefully it still will function after I type this), but with the exception of a dodgy keyboard on one of the phone handsets it is working very well. To be honest I gave up with one of the phone handsets – while the iiNet service staff I have dealt with have been great.

    Here is hoping, that the budii system functions as well as it looks visually the first time out of the box.

    Needless to say I will not be rushing to get a budii, the Bob2 system while temperamental is functioning – the budii system is an unknown.

  5. Sam says:

    I’m annoyed I wasn’t informed of this when I signed up in feb and got the Bob2- I would have waited for this.

    • Wendy says:

      @Sam, That’s a really good point. Are iiNet offering an upgrade solution for customer’s in this situation?

  6. Erlo Pietsch says:

    I do not know what Android is and newer found out about bluetus. I simply don’t know what to do with it, but figure if I did not need it in 76 years why now?

  7. Maria Luezas says:

    My best budii is the one that close or even far from me, may even unseen for sometime, retains the qualities that united us, the bond of affection, mutual trust and support we build with each other, a reliable confidential friend, in which I could safety trust and depend in time of need.

  8. Phil Logan says:

    Will it work with a satalite connection?

  9. linda says:

    If I won a budii iinet would be my best buddy

  10. Geoff Tilley says:

    Dear Stuart May I compliment you on your comments re

    Bob2. You have nailed it. Geoff

  11. Wladimir says:

    This seems similar to Telstra’s tablet. that went belly up. Sounds like a great idea. looking forward to finding what other areas the BUDII can be used for.

  12. Tony Polifiore says:

    Looking to get the new Budii because my Bob2 is just a poor product and would like to replace it…. Hope it works better that the Bob2 (would have to)..

    • Terry Ting says:

      @Tony Polifiore, I totally agree with you, Tony, BOB2 is terrible, specially the phone, its num pad is not working properly, a lot of time a number need to press in order get that number.

  13. Roger Taylor says:

    I have a Bob2 and so far have only minor problems with it. The problems were easily overcome and it seems to work well!!

  14. Renee says:

    Looking forward to getting my Budii. I have been using iinet products since becoming a customer nearly 4 years ago. Loved Bob and Bob2 never had any issues or complaints they worked like a dream. Im sure Budii will be just as good.

  15. Melis says:

    Sounds intriguing. I want one.

  16. Danny says:

    Visually it looks great.

  17. Kevin says:

    I have a Bob 2 and I have a iinet repeater

    I would like a Budha, but my belief is that iinett release their items too quick and have problems after

    Also I am still not happy with Broadband since Westnet sold out as the service is great but connection is slow after many a time with online service



  18. Bill Greaves says:

    I do not have home internet. If I won the budha it would be good for me to tell all and sundry, how good IInet is

  19. Kevin says:

    I would be happy to give you a unbiased opinion on the product , if it was given to me

  20. Jesus says:

    I dont think iinet are in the Buddhism Business –
    Bill Greaves and Kevin, but they do have a product called a”Budii”. If it’s a Budah your after you have to try another store, down the street.

  21. VBatty says:

    concerned about the Budii tablet
    Q1. How will it connect to the Internet when I take it out of the building. That is, does the iinet “you have a monthly data allowance with iinet/tomizone WiFi hotspots” mean these days when the URL has had the “find hotspots” link removed from it and the URL does not work or seem active
    Q2. What does it mean when iinet say they are working on getting Google PlayStore (source of apps for Android tablets) to work with the Budii tablet? How can the tablet be released without this basic support?

    • Natalie Marinho says:

      Hi VBatty,

      Thank you for your queries.

      Q1 – The tablet is primarily an in-home device. But if you take it out of the house and can find a hotspot to connect to, it will. If you can find a hotspot which lets you enter your iiNet account credentials then it will work on your current account. You could also use the tether function on your mobile in order to use the data connection, or purchase a MobiiHotspot product from iiNet and surf with 4G outdoors.

      Q2 – iiNet is in the process of registering Budii software with Google Play. For everyone who is waiting for the news, we’ll let you know as soon as it’s registered. Once Google have finished certifying our hardware we will simply upgrade your handset and tablet automatically for you. In the meantime, you could probably ask a geek about APKs and a heads up on how to put apps on the Budii tablet and home smartphone. If you’re interested in doing it yourself, check out this article from Digital Trends ( to get started. Note: iiNet does not endorse or support the content contained in this article, or the apps available through the different stores it links to. Installing apps (whether from Google Play or any other source) is at your own risk.

      Additional information on Budii is also available on our website here:™_FAQ

      Natalie (Communications Officer, iiNet)

  22. Paul Crick-Lyon says:

    I too am annoyed that when I ordered my BOB2 in January 2013 and installed it easily, that no one at IINet hinted at the existence of BUDDII.
    I am happy with my BOB, it works well in every way. So I doubt that I will bother with the BUDDII. Perhaps IINet will offer to upgrade me with some reasonable incentive to change over..
    What about it IINet??????

    • Tal Waterhouse says:

      Hi Paul,

      That definitely does seem fair.

      It’s always best to give us a call on 13 22 58 in these circumstances to have a representative look into your account specifically and discuss any available options for you.