The Weather Channel’s new Android app provides direct notifications and alerts without relying on networks.
Staying informed in a crisis is crucial to one’s safety. Getting ahead of the information as it trickles down, and being prepared can save precious time during a severe weather storm. This is especially true if evacuation is a possibility.
Accessibility is an increasingly bigger problem. The countries that are identified as “emerging markets” are often the ones with the least amount of resources for information sharing and reliable connectivity. When problems seem insurmountable, that is when the boundaries of technology’s capabilities are pushed further.
It is in this spirit that IBM has developed what they call “Mesh Network Alerts.” Mesh Network Alerts are a peer-to-peer messaging system that allows vital information to be pushed to nearby phones. This happens outside the confines of normal wifi or cellular connectivity by relying on Bluetooth and radios. The content of these messages will be entirely focused on weather. The severe weather warnings and alerts will be powered within The Weather Channel Android app. The app is only 3.2MB and works on 2G networks, to better accommodate the technology available.
IBM is debuting this technology in these emerging markets, with a focus on India, Africa, and Latin America. These densely populated areas suffer from the most unreliable network connectivity, and this would allow the residents to get vital information more quickly.
IBM ensures that the security of the network and the flow of information between devices is a priority. The information is shared between devices within a range.
With this new technology, it will be interesting to see how everything develops, and if the security is as strong as the company claims.