IBM Creates Mesh Networking to Send Emergency Alerts Without Cell Signal

cageymaru

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In developing countries, cellphone service is sparse and congested. This is especially true in places such as India where the population is 1.252 billion, and has a landmass that is one third the size of the USA. When natural disasters occur, such as tsunami, it is important that emergency messages and services reach as much of the population quickly. IBM developed Mesh Networking while collaborating with The Weather Company to integrate it into their android app. Mesh Networking is a system designed where the radios in smartphones transmit emergency messages to each other. Although the limitations of the hardware keeps it from reaching a wider audience than a few hundred feet of radiating distance, in a large city this would be spread like wildfire.

The mesh networking update will be rolling out to The Weather Company users in emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. (You can see a full list of countries here.) That’s because it’s in these areas that traditional mobile networks are most congested, and in danger of becoming unusable during emergencies. The update to app has been optimized to be as data-light as possible, but it still has its limitations. For example, phones need to be within a few hundred feet of one another to share information. That means that people in isolated areas won’t be able to take advantage of the app, but it will be perfect for sending alerts to large crowds.
 
You mean ad-hoc? The technology every company ignored until they could make sure its only done by user who is logged into a central server?
 
This could be incredibly useful for warning people away from an emergency situation and for traffic management.
 
This could be incredibly useful for warning people away from an emergency situation and for traffic management.

I originally wrote about a warning system for cars in NYC, where they traveled and warned others in apartment buildings of a disaster. I couldn't get it quite right and scrapped it. ;)
 
As very useful as this is, I can't help but to wonder about the other side of this connectivity: A bot that hijacks The Weather Company's app to infect/attack other such devices without the need of an internet connection. I'm not saying their idea isn't a good one, I'm just nervous about opening up this doorway.
 
With phone makers refusing to make phones with batteries that can easily last even a day, a service like this is the first that most users will disable.
 
I can make my cell phone last a week without charging if I turn off wifi and bluetooth. Not sure I'd willingly keep it on, especially in an emergency when I might be cut off from power.
 
As very useful as this is, I can't help but to wonder about the other side of this connectivity: A bot that hijacks The Weather Company's app to infect/attack other such devices without the need of an internet connection. I'm not saying their idea isn't a good one, I'm just nervous about opening up this doorway.

I was thinking the same thing. Seems to be dangerous if the notification system gets compromised.
 
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