MeshKit is a the development suite for the popular protest and media sharing app, FireChat. Before 3G and smartphones opened up the floodgates of connectivity Bluetooth and infrared were the way to share ringtones and pictures. This tech never went away. In places where the internet is highly monitored and censored some sparkling innovation emerged.
In 2014 100,000 protestors in Hong Kong downloaded FireChat in 24 hours. It was a remarkable move against a mighty adversary, the Chinese government. Technically FireChat lets you message without mobile stations or a wifi internet connection by using bluetooth and the wifi hardware to create a mesh network.
MeshKit SDK Launched
At the Mobile World Congress Open Garden, the makers of FireChat, announced their MeshKit SDK. It allows developers to integrate the mesh network with their own apps. Eliminating the rentier relationship between user and provider is appealing for those in poverty too.
Studies have shown how utilities payment schemes hit poor people hardest. Pre-paid, pay as you go, top-up style utilities are often more expensive, yet easier to access. Poverty is a complex and cyclical issue, if you can’t build up capital or credit you can’t access the savings.
Brazil’s PalcoMp3 uses the MeshKit and claims to have 28 million active monthly users and 111 million downloads over its service. Palco’s business model allowed artist to upload their music, which serves adverts, and then splits the revenue. The speed of this network is also appealing. Users of Palco can send 300mb in under a minute, refreshing their minds with new music without dipping into their data.
Studio Sol, the owner of Palco, plan to use MeshKit for app distribution too. Bypassing app stores. How information security and privacy will be maintained depends on the extent of monetisation pursued. Which will run the gamut from none to all.
Another interesting propoistion is net neutrality on a peer-to-peer network.