How many times has not having signal, wifi or data stopped you from sending a message to someone?
The amount of times I have gotten lost at a festival and been a lone-wanderer because my network let me down.
Firechat, an app developed by Open Garden, uses something called mesh networking to let you communicate with anyone else who has the app.
Here’s a detailed video that explains the complex technology:
Insider reports that mesh networking works by bouncing your message from one phone equipped with FireChat (within 210 feet of you) to another via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth antennas, and the message continues bouncing until it reaches the intended recipient.
But don’t worry about privacy because messages are encrypted so only the intended recipient can read them. If no connections are available, messages are stored until they can be sent.
To cross oceans, the message will hop from phone to phone until it reaches one with an internet connection, enabling t to make its way to the final destination.
Originally the app’s popularity increased after it enabled protesters in the 2014 Hong Kong protests, as well as being a lifeline for people in Iraq after the country faced restrictions on internet use.
Here’s a video about how the app played an integral role in the organisation of Hong Kong protesters:
The more people download the app the better it will get because there will be more connections in the mesh network.
Only about five million mobile users worldwide have downloaded the app, but the app’s creators estimate that only 5 per cent of a city needs to have it downloaded for messages to be delivered withing 10 minutes.