Internet of Floats: Thinking about connectivity during disasters
Harvey has hit Houston and the surrounding areas very hard and that’s an understatement. Carriers have scrambled, to support the disaster, offering free calls and data to those impacted by the storm. Google Loon has been mentioned as one way to provide connectivity to impacted regions but balloons do not do as well in hurricane force winds.
Imagine then a set of floatable base stations, leveraging either cellular or unlicensed wi-fi technologies, to provide on demand connectivity in the stricken region. These floats could be pre-installed in threat areas as well as the apps to make use of them. Additional floats could be dropped in by air after the winds die down to increase coverage or replace damaged nodes in the network. Power would only have to work for the first few days, when connectivity is so critical yet when those resources are most strained.