Apple’s iOS 7, the latest version of the operating system, has a feature that could revolutionize the way instant messaging is used and internet is accessed. A platform by the name of FireChat has already developed an app that successfully utilizes the same.
Referred to as Multipeer Connectivity Framework, Apple’s iOS 7 OS feature has the ability to build a sustained Multi-peer Network between multiple users. Successfully incorporating the same, FireChat App has been developed by the crowd-sourced connectivity provider Open Garden.
The Multi-peer Connectivity Framework offers users the flexibly to use WiFi and Bluetooth peer-to-peer connections to chat and share photos even without an Internet connection. Though this may sound old fashioned and highly limiting in the usability range, the framework can be extended vastly via a Peer–To–Peer (P2P) and be used to connect two individuals who need not be on the same WiFi network or within Bluetooth range.
The magic of this interconnection happens using a chain of P2P users. It is called as wireless mesh networking and Apple has decided to mainstream the feature from iOS7. Coincidentally Apple’s very own AirDrop uses the backend principles.
The potential of the FireChat is huge. For starters, it is being used to send instant messages (soon multimedia will be supported) to users without needing internet connectivity. For example, a person in the basement of a building, where networks seldom reach, will be able to stay connected to someone say, in a remote village by the power of mesh networking capability that FireChat possesses.
Essentially, FireChat mimics the way internet works in real–world; jumping from node to node till the remote server (or one user) is connected to the other user. But the app uses its own network, instead of the World Wide Web Framework to achieve this feat. And this is one another benefit that could shake the very foundations of internet access protocols. The Multi-peer Mesh Network also holds the ability to deliver internet with the user not even having access to a network, let alone a Data Pack.
Such Ad–Hoc Networks will one day allow devices who merely have a WiFi or Bluetooth enabled, be connected to internet, which will be delivered to the users via Multi-peer Networking protocols.
The revolution has clearly begun with FireChat who has skillfully demonstrated the potential of Multi-peer Connectivity Framework currently offered only by Apple. Hence, it’s not surprising then, that Google, the maker of Android Operating System, is already exploring the possibilities in wearable technologies as reported by eWeek.
Though there would be a lot less number of people in the regions with sketchy or expensive internet, who can afford an iOS 7 device, the correct implementation of mesh networking like that of FireChat could eliminate many of the ‘dead spots‘ around the world. Hope it doesn’t kill the battery though.
[Images Via SlideShare]