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India gets an internet-free weather alert system, courtesy of IBM and The Weather Company

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Low or sluggish connectivity in emerging countries could sometimes also prove to be a boon that pushes technology giants to develop innovative solutions for these regions. IBM and The Weather Company, owned by IBM Business, have collaborated to debut a mobile weather alert system for the Indian populace.

This is a first-of-its-kind platform for the country, the highlight being that weather alerts are delivered without the need for an internet connection. The said system employs a mesh netw0rk to send critical weather updates to people living in remote and low-connectivity areas.

This means that the weather alert system uses peer-to-peer technology, which links nearby mobile devices to extend the signal to make a larger set of people aware of an upcoming calamity. The transmission of critical information can enable them to displace in time and prevent loss of life under severe conditions. Talking about its technology in a press release, Himanshu Goyal, India Sales and Alliances Leader, The Weather Company said,

Mesh Network Alerts networking technology is appropriately designed to notify of potential severe weather events or disasters – even in areas with a limited Internet connection, or cellular networks are disrupted due to an outage.

In simple terms, the mesh technology converts each mobile device into links within the network. This makes it possible for devices to directly talk with each other without the need of cellular connection. Each mobile device (link) acts like a node that can store weather updates in the form of messages, and pass it on to the next nearest device. This creates a network chain and keeps forwarding the said message to more users without even employing a cellular network.

Further, Goyal continues to add,

Mesh Network Alerts can help send notification of an upcoming disaster that could help people and their families stay safe. It’s a matter of great pride for us as this technology is first introduced in India.

While mesh networks can be deployed in high-population, high-bandwidth urban areas but it has been designed keeping in mind the needs of low-bandwidth locations. It is especially important for a country like India, the first adopter of the tech, where more than 75 percent of the populace is not connected to the internet. The Weather Company and IBM aim to popularize this alert system, which enables access to weather, maps, and alerts without an internet connection. Now, that’s a sweet innovation.

Source: NDTV

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