Communicating without Internet Access Using Mesh Networks

1. Sustainability problem: Communications without internet access

Having an internet connection is key for communication these days. However, natural disasters can disrupt existing internet connection and many places don’t have reliable and wide-spread internet coverage to begin with. Furthermore, some people simply cannot afford to connect to the internet.

Category: Safety and Health 

2. Technology summary

Source: “Bridgefy lets developers build mesh networks into their apps”, Techcrunch (https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/18/bridgefy-lets-developers-build-mesh-networking-into-their-apps/)

  • This article discusses Bridgefy, a company that created a software development kit (SDK) for developers to integrate mesh networking capabilities into their iOS and Android apps
  • The mesh networking functionality allows smartphones to communicate even when there’s no access to the internet by creating a network of phones connected by Bluetooth
  • Phones can communicate directly with each other (across a distance of no more than 330 ft) or with phones further away as long as they are indirectly connected through other Bluetooth-enabled phones
  • Other companies, such as Open Garden, have tried to do similar things but have had difficulties making the technology work seamlessly
  • This technology has many use cases, ranging from disaster relief efforts and providing arriving refugees with connectivity to enabling education applications

Tags: #smartcommunication #internet #meshnetworks #bluetooth

3. Organizational stakeholders

As mentioned, there are many different use cases and, therefore, stakeholders for this technology. Across the board, developers are the key stakeholders as they need to use Bridgefy’s SDK to build or update their apps. Next, users of apps that include Bridgefy’s functionality need to be made aware of the mesh network functionality so that they use the relevant apps, enable Bluetooth, and allow the network to form. Depending on the type of app the specific stakeholders will vary, but this could include civilians/individuals, government officials, hospital employees, etc.

4. Technology deployment

Early deployment has to focus on a) making sure the technology works seamlessly from a technical perspective and b) creating a large enough mesh network for the technology to work from a practical perspective.

  1. Educate the public about the mesh network functionality of the app and its reliance on Bluetooth (the mesh network has more value when more people enable Bluetooth and use apps using this feature)
  2. Partner with app developers/companies that already have a large network of users and provide them with the feature at a discounted price, e.g., Uber (the company has a broad network within cities and has a use case for this technology, e.g., when users are traveling abroad and want to use the app but don’t have access to internet)
  3. Work with / advocate for hardware providers to improve their Bluetooth technology

5. Comment on another post

I commented on “Truck Platooning” (DCT2131)

This platooning technology has implications beyond the trucking industry. These connected vehicles also collect data on the road and traffic conditions that can be shared with other connected cars and the government to improve safety and traffic more generally.

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/23/truck-platooning/comment-page-1/#comment-1460

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Communicating without Internet Access Using Mesh Networks

  1. I find that the company will charge app developers based on how many users engage with their apps because of its technology. I am wondering how they could know that number exactly.

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  2. Very handy technology to provide connectivity when traditional internet network is either unavailable or unaffordable. The company can partner up with hardware companies, such as MeshPoint (it provides relief WiFi hotspot for disasters and outdoor areas), to refine the technology and provide a holistic solution.

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  3. […] “Communicating without Internet Access Using Mesh Networks“: Very handy technology to provide connectivity when traditional internet network is either unavailable or unaffordable. The company can partner up with hardware companies, such as MeshPoint (it provides relief WiFi hotspot for disasters and outdoor areas), to refine the technology and provide a holistic solution. […]

    Like

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