I have seen the talk about incentivizing the setting up of mesh nodes to build out the network and believe that is all good.
But as I thought about potential applications I want to build with the SDK one app that filters to the top of my list was a follow me application for road trips of multiple cars. I regularly road trip across central Oregon where my cell phones are useless (yes, I have Sprint, it sucks in rural area’s). I believe Ford built something like this in an incubator some time ago, but the basic premise is that you have two cars each with a goTenna and regardless of cell phone signal, you can see where the other car is with almost real time results as long as the goTenna can connect.
As I was thinking about that it occurred to me that maybe the car should have goTenna built in. My mother is literally at a Subaru dealership right now purchasing a new car and I could not think of a better pairing than Subaru or Jeep with goTenna. What if your next new car had goTenna built in and when you buy one in addition to the car having a goTenna built in they give you 1 or 2 more to hook up to your phone? You use that big metal box of a car that’s horrible for getting messages out of as a giant antenna to boost the signal and increase the range of your new node so when you park your car to go camping it acts as a node that can then transmit that information on to your group of campers in different locations, or on to other cars passing on the highway or local roads. You would literally be using the highway as an information super highway
You could jump the air gap of locations that have no stationary nodes by having your messages ride along on cars that store your message and transmit it when they reach another goTenna to continue the path to the message recipient. And of course this works in the city as well as in rural areas. I was in a basement parking garage not long ago. Searching for cell service was all I saw on my phone, but if just a few cars parked in that garage had a goTenna in them, I could have been texting anyone I wanted as long as the message bounced its way to the surface through parked cars with goTenna.
And of course if you were able to get a goTenna in some new cars, then every time a new car is sold the mesh network expands. I am scared of what the manufacturer that includes the goTenna in their car might try and do, for example send you a message every time you drive by the dealership that there is a special on oil changes or something silly like that, but I think this idea has potential. With the right connections between an automobile or truck manufacturer and goTenna we could see some really cool things.
And of course the other side of this is getting goTenna built into every phone so you don’t need the additional device
@Turnerb I like how you’re thinking!
Great minds think alike by the way — an auto manufacturer reached out to us recently to talk about partnerships, but my sense is no matter what, getting actually built into cars will take some time… (for the record, I’m form-factor agnostic and think goTenna’s a protocol company that today has to build our own hardware because phones are designed not to enable P2P communication at any practical distance … and no, Blutetooth doesn’t count, haha!)
BUT! In the meantime, I do like your general idea about using cars and generally moving things as relay nodes that can do hand-offs over even greater distances than any person can walk or hike!
Are you familiar with Veniam?
They’re doing V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) wifi mesh networks — they’re of course focused on high-bandwidth applications, but I met their team earlier this summer and they’re very impressive. There’s probably ways we could integrate with Veniam where goTenna Mesh could provide low-cost/low-power/long-distance meshing as first/last mile and Veniam could provide the gateway to the cloud as well as high-bandwidth/speed.
Nevertheless, I do think there’s an internet of (moving) things application for goTenna Mesh. One product idea we’ve long-discussed is creating little modules specifically for IoT applications (the long-range and low-power, plus mobile ad hoc protocol is really unique especially compared to fixed/industrial IoT modules on the market today); these would of course be interoperable with goTenna Mesh devices.
In the shorter-term, I’d love to hear about DIY test implementations for the application(s) you’re talking with goTenna Mesh as-is today — our team would learn a lot from what works/doesn’t work for this use-case out-of-the-box currently. And with the Mesh SDK due out by end of this month (fingers crossed!), also keen to learn what people build that could enable this functionality beyond the native goTenna app.
I know testers have used drones and mesh units to increase range which is great and can be very useful in emergency situation. Following along @Turnerb idea of integrating Gotenna mesh in cars, this should be implemented in helicopters as well. Low flying aircrafts. They can fly low at altidudes where gotenna integration (as it is today) can be used to relay messages even further.
Helicopter-mounted goTennas: already happening!
You’d be up against stiff competition from zigbee and other protocols already with wide adoption in the building automation space. I’m sure you heard even bluetooth is gettin’ meshy with it. I work for Trane and our line of wireless thermostats and sensors is zigbee compliant. It’s the wild west, but mesh is the future for sure. An area it’s still weak is intra-building networks across a campus–i.e. the mesh works great inside a particular building, but can’t connect to other buildings so you get islands. Food for thought.
Oh yeah, I don’t think anyone here is stating that goTenna will be the perfect solution for every IoT application at all. I think that where we can carve out a space is in what we’re particularly and uniquely good at: mobility and long-range. In that way I think we can be complementary to other systems.