FireChat is an app for smartphones, it can be installed on Android devices and Apple devices.
FireChat came to prominence during pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong end of last year. Half a million people installed the app in a week, in what was probably the fastest adoption of an app in such a short period of time, in a small geography.
The reason for its popularity is that protesters were using social media to coordinate their protests and they feared the Chinese authorities would shut down the internet. Downside was FireChat was not secure.
FireChat works by using wifi and bluetooth to communicate phone to phone, each phone becomes a node in a mesh network, messages can be communicated across this mesh network, without a mobile signal, without connection to the net.
With Skype, I can make Skype to Skype calls, I can also call phones. I do not need a phone network.
With FireChat, I do not need a phone network, I do not need the internet, the devices form the network.
A network is created with no capital outlay, other than on the interconnected devices.
Instant messaging has replaced text messaging. FireChat, with p2p communication using a device network, could be the next thing.
- Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong use Firechat
- FireChat will become a totally free mobile carrier