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September 9, 2014

FireChat’s creator extends mesh-network to Internet of Things

Each link in the network connects to participating devices until it reaches one that’s within range of a single access point.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The company behind the FireChat app, the first messaging app for offline chatting, has expanded its technology for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Crowdsourced firm Open Garden is developing a system that would allow millions of connected devices and apps to get online via a mesh network made up devices, such as smart phones and tablets.

According to Open Garden, each link in the network connects to participating devices until it reaches one that’s within range of a single access point over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct.

Open Garden said to enable access to the network, device manufacturers use a simple digital access key available from the company and its partners.

The first devices to use Open Garden’s technology are TrackR’s key finders, which don’t use cellular or Wi-Fi radios as they take up too much space and power.

With Open Garden, every time another TrackR user comes within 100ft of the lost item, their phone will set up a connection and alert the owner.

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Earlier this year, Open Group created a free iPhone app called FireChat, which lets users send messages to people in close proximity that are in Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct range up to around 200ft.

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