Protesting is a popular way to show one’s distaste with government policy or something that happened publicly. It is often peaceful but sometimes protests can become violent depending on how wronged the protesters feel. The one constant has been that protesters around the world look to IoT devices to get their message out.
These devices are mainly cellphones ,an IoT device that most everybody has on them. Most new cell phones have such an incredible “reach” due to the apps available on them. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, these are all solid examples of the “reach” available. But what happens when a censorship happy government shuts down search results for the word “protest” or access to Facebook? A company called Open Garden has two apps that are helping to organize protesters. The first one is called Open Garden and it utilizes something called mesh networking. The second is called FireChat and its the app protesters in Hong Kong have relied on heavily. To the government’s dismay, it has worked incredibly well.
FireChat piggybacks on Open Garden’s ability to connect users as long as they have the FireChat app. Mesh networking technology is ad-hoc in that it can be set up by anyone to connect wireless devices to each other without having to pass through an ISP or central authority. Perfect for people who are constantly trying to organize so that they can be heard. It’s also a great ally in the world of connected devices.
Here’s why, mesh networking is very hard to shut down. To do so you would need to shut down every node on the network. Since the network is constantly trying to find the quickest route for the data to travel, they are very efficient. If a new node is added to the network, the network will adapt it without the need to configuring anything. On the flip side, if a node is shut down or destroyed, the network adapts in a similar manner. This would be crucial in say, a natural disaster where terrestrial communication systems fall victim. Cities that have had some data systems crippled by unfortunate events would still have data connection between IoT devices. It makes for reliable and fast communication between millions of devices.
Better living through protests? That’s probably debatable, but it has brought together great minds to achieve something unique. That is the ability to reliably connect our IoT devices in good times or bad and may be the future of communication for IoT. Open Garden has more info on how their apps work right here.