IBM and The Weather Company, an IBM Business, announced the launch of the new Mesh Network Alerts technology in India. This first mobile alerting platform will deliver weather alerts without Internet. The technology uses peer-to-peer connections on a mesh network to send critical weather alerts to people in areas with lower connectivity and data availability.
According to a 2016 report by the International Telecommunications Union*1 approximately 75 percent of India’s population don’t use or have access to the Internet. Mesh network can enable people in low internet connectivity area to exchange messages. It is designed for low bandwidth environments, but uses mesh technology to offers the same high-quality user experience and needed weather information, maps and alerts from The Weather Channel.
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.