How can we leverage wireless technology to keep people connected to each other and to vital information sources in the aftermath of a disaster where Internet access is unavailable or compromised?
The Off-the-Grid Internet Challenge seeks solutions that can provide connectivity in one of the most challenging situations: the immediate aftermath of a major disaster. When disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes strike, communications networks are often among the first pieces of critical infrastructure to overload or fail, leaving individuals disconnected from one another and from essential services and communications. With a total of $1M in prize money, the Off-the-Grid Internet Challenge seeks solutions that help individuals wirelessly access each other and information services like maps and messaging following a disaster.
WAKE UP HAM RADIO!
THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE!
Now that you’re sick and tired of ham radio after spending all night on a radio during last weekend’s Field Day, here’s another thing to keep you up at night.
It’s not very often that the people of the internet make a direct call to the nature of our hobby to do something novel to promote and advance how we communicate in disasters.
3 days ago, I found this in /r/darknetplan, a subreddit made for planners and developers of the decentralized internet of the future, where internet is shared through individual nodes (mesh net) and centralized services (like Gmail, or Facebook) became decentralized, where data is stored and shared via peer-to-peer connections rather than through a serverfarm.
It was then sent out via the APRS-SIG email list. This is when I realized ham radio has a pretty significant advantage: we’re already there.
Well, that was easy. We’ll take our $2 million now. 🙂
Just kidding; it’s not that easy. Applications are open for the $2 Million WINS Challenges until October, 15 2017. Even though AREDN seemingly has this in the bag, it’s up to you to actually bring it to light.
If there’s no amateur radio presence in this challenge, I think I’m going to quit the hobby. For real. I would do it, but I have a day job and a wedding to plan. Don’t kill the messenger!
With that said, while this competition is proceeding, I strongly suggest (or hope) the media barons of amateur radio (ARRL, AR Newsline, podcast media, etc) to talk about, support, sponsor, if not join forces with Mozilla and their WINS challenge. ARRL is in a very prime spot to get some facetime with one of the next generations of hams – those developing decentralized, off-grid wired and wireless networks.
Also, hi again; it’s been a while. I moved apartments, traveled a bit, and had a lot of ham radio downtime. I’m back though. I’ll probably start back up with the Phasing Line Podcast, if Marty still remembers who I am 😛