What if you no longer needed a mobile phone network or a WiFi network to connect to people. What if there was a way to interact and exchange autonomously without a giant telecom provider backing you up. The idea is fascinating and game changing to say the least. And at SXSW today one such app developer has done just the same. Introducing FireChat – the app that doesn’t need any kind of network to run! The idea is only at it’s preliminary stages but the premise behind this app is profoundly disruptive.
So how does it work? It uses the WiFi and the Bluetooth capability of your existing mobile phone to connect to another mobile phone within 100 feet and by doing so creates a mesh peer-to-peer network to relay messages. Simply beautiful. In a world where you would always be around a cell phone network within 100 ft. this could be an amazing way to interact. There are many question marks at this stage. Privacy and security for one. Your messages are all public. Using your device to relay someone else’s private message is a bit eerie. So this is something that needs to be worked out somehow. The other challenge is that of security. Such a technology can be a powerful tool in the hands of someone intending evil as it gives the right level of discretion to communicate and be untraceable assuming the security issue is sorted out.
On a positive side however this is a true network of the people, by the people, for the people. Mobilizing a revolution or any collective action that can be disrupted by breaking communication can now be democratized through an app that ensures all members in close proximity are connected and enabled regardless of what the powers to be intend to do. This takes the idea of a mobile phone to another new level. It becomes a network in your hands. An enabler for others to connect and commune. This is all an ambitious ideology sparked by the idea behind FireChat but it is very promising and does give an indication of innovations to come as mesh networks of this kind develop further.Feature image by Deigo Sevilla Ruiz used under Creative Commons 2.0 License