The Mobile World Congress that took place last week in Barcelona was the occasion for the connected planet to meet and exchange on the stakes and challenges for the forthcoming years. Facebook and Project Loon were in the limelight with many announcements and it quickly became obvious that the number one preoccupation of most internet users (private or professional) is the need for connectivity. In such a connected world we live in, this might come as a surprise, but, then, again, maybe not.
Over 70% of the world population has still never had any access to the internet. Meanwhile over 15% of the world population gets on the web at least once a day and, mainly via their smartphones. There are two schools of thought for how to resolve the connectivity problem. On the one hand, we need infrastructure in place and on the other hand, we need more bandwidth or lighter applications to avoid network saturation. These changes will bring Internet to all, allowing access not only to our favorite services, but also providing basic information that can change our lives.
We also need to bear in mind that with the fast development of the Internet of Things (IoT), more and more connected devices will require internet access or, to say it better, constant connectivity. Google’s Loon and is working in that direction. Project Loon is flying a flock of balloons on the streams of the stratosphere to bring internet connection to all, everywhere, even to the most remote areas of the globe.
However, even if Google announced during the Mobile World Congress that their balloons should be operational by 2016 and that they could generate sustainable revenue, the Internet void at present is so significant that we can wonder if one single initiative will be able to fulfill them all. For example, will project Loon balloons also be used to support NYC’s saturated bandwidth, or will they only be dedicated to the next “4 billion to bring online?” And what about most user’s simple need to have constant connectivity?
It appears that even if this solution is implemented, there will be remaining connectivity gaps in the world. At the Mobile World Congress Zuckerburg mentioned that Internet.org would happily partner with Google to collaborate on bringing Internet to all. This speaks to the magnitude of the connectivity challenge. In tackling Internet for all, partners will not only matter, but will be necessary in order to develop a comprehensive global solution. Each of these solutions underway addresses a part of the issue, but not the whole picture.
Light hybrid technologies, fitted directly from the factory on every smartphone or individually downloaded by each user could be an interesting solution to meet the needs of the whole “connectivity market”, acting as a complement to these other solutions. Indeed, hybrid technologies, by using the minimum bandwidth and by optimizing networks, could allow users to stay connected even when the networks are saturated. They would also allow users living in areas with nonexistent infrastructure to get access to basic internet services. This is what we call “frugal innovation”. A technology that, by using what is available now, innovates to fulfill a need that cannot be met. Be-Bound® is exactly this: a hybrid technology, and is available in over 100 countries.
Is it possible that the solution of the connection continuity problem is already available on Android and awaits to be downloaded from the Google Play Store?…Who knows? Give it a try!