Low or sluggish connectivity in emerging countries could sometimes also prove to be a boon that pushes technology giants to develop innovative solutions for these regions. IBM and The Weather Company, owned by IBM Business, have collaborated to debut a mobile weather alert system for the India.
Mesh Network Alerts networking technology is appropriately designed to notify of potential severe weather events or disasters – even in areas with a limited Internet connection, or cellular networks are disrupted due to an outage.
Developed by IBM researchers, the breakthrough mesh technology is now available via The Weather Channel app in India. The mesh network technology links other nearby phones to extend the signal to help keep citizens connected and informed, and in the most severe conditions, might even help save a life. Mesh Network Alerts technology is particularly crucial in emerging markets, as well as in developed countries where cellular networks are congested, connectivity is intermittent and data access is often limited. As a result, the ability to alert and inform people during emergency situations is unreliable, which can have dire consequences.
Peer-to-peer technology converts mobile devices into links within the mesh network, allowing devices to “talk” directly to each other without using cell tower infrastructure. Each smartphone becomes a node that stores the message and securely passes it to the next nearest device, creating a daisy chain to reach more devices and remove the need for a cellular network. While other mesh networks use hot spotting, IBM and The Weather Company chose not to turn devices into individual access points to avoid excessive battery drain.
“Today, India has the second largest smartphone market in terms of active smartphone users but at times of severe weather the cellular networks get congested, connectivity is intermittent and data access is often limited. Mesh Network Alerts networking technology is so appropriately designed to address these challenges and to notify of potential severe weather events or disasters — even in areas with limited Internet connection, or cellular networks are disrupted due to an outage,” said Himanshu Goyal, India Sales & Alliances Leader, The Weather Company.
“The extreme weather condition in the country has led to casualties across states. Mesh Network Alerts can help send notification of an upcoming disaster that could help people and their families stay safe. It’s a matter of great pride for us as this technology is first introduced in India,” he further added.