Previously, news were coming out that a great number of democracy advocates went protesting in Hong Kong’s popular streets, but then were appalled to notice that their communication lines were cut off, specifically targeting their mobile phones. There was just too many people who flocked into the area, communicating with each other, that the network crushed. Their communication was crippled at that very moment.

Photo credit: renz15.wordpress.com

Photo credit: renz15.wordpress.com

The Power of Free Messaging: Brought to Your by FireChat

But then, afterwards, something interesting occurred. Individuals started talking with one another; however, not over wireless-signal or information systems. It was by means of FireChat, an application from Open Garden. This app assembles lattice systems by joining mobile phones via Bluetooth or distributed wireless signal. This adequately transforms each mobile phone into a hub that can convey instant messages to anyone they want without any extra cost.

The idea is that rather than depending on an incorporated ISP or telecom organization to give telecommunications service, individuals have the capacity to create their own decentralized system that can develop as vast as there are individuals who has FireChat working on their phones. One can broadcast messages to a large group or can be conveyed as a private message by jumping from phone to phone until it find the receiver.

FireChat Partnering with Marikina for Disaster Preparedness

Since the application was introduced last year, it’s been utilized as a part of many countries’ communications bridge amid real challenges and normal calamities. Currently, FireChat has partnered with one of Metro Manila’s disaster prone area, Marikina City, to establish a good FireChat network that can be utilized during emergencies and calamities.

The Philippines, which gets hit with a normal of 20 tropical storms a year and lies along the Pacific ring of fire, is a catastrophe hotspot, making it the best proving ground for FireChat. When Ondoy hit the city, 80 percent of Marikina was submerged in water. Numerous residents were stranded on top of their rooftops, calling for help, not able to use mobile communications as the systems were down. Marikina’s vice-mayor, Jose Fabian Cadiz thinks that the app could have spared lives by making it simpler for people in risk to connect with authorities.

The Compatibility of FireChat to Marikina’s Dense Population

Density is FireChat’s main requirement to be more effective. The application’s network system becomes more effective when more people are using it. It works best with mobile phones which are at least 60 meters apart from each other. However, in times when the density is spotty, it utilizes GreenStone, a revolutionary platform considered to be the first messaging beacon. GreenStone allows peer-to-peer connections to spread even further, enabling free messaging anywhere – no internet required. GreenStone supports the system and keeps messages until somebody with FireChat exists and can transmit messages.

When it comes to density, it is of no issue in Marikina; the city’s population density is found to be 50,000 individuals for each square mile. At least 5% of the populace would need to have FireChat if it has to function as expected. Without any means of mobile or remote communication, it usually takes about 10 to 20 minutes to reach from one end of Marikina to the other end. With a free messaging app like FireChat, sending communications is almost instantaneous, without relying with telco companies for SMS signal or wi-fi – which can be very unreliable during calamities and emergencies.

Depending on other individuals to hand-off your message isn’t generally productive, yet it is effective. FireChat is truly enabling everyone to create their own communication network, and is a good alternative, if not, a good replacement of conventional systems. All things considered, FireChat is becoming an essential app, especially those times when communication is very critical.

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