RightMesh: How We Are Redefining Connectivity

Are we connected efficiently…?

Can we even imagine a world without the internet…? The future of ubiquitous data is nearly here. Everyone, every business model, and every idea is hooked to the internet model. Accessing the internet is a crucial factor for everything that exists. But have we ever asked ourselves the question, are we connected efficiently?

For instance, take the case of WhatsApp and the path the data travels to reach our phone. The message (data) will go from the sender’s phone to the nearby base station, further-on through high-speed fibers to the server, and back along the same path to the receiver’s phone. The data travels potentially hundreds of miles all within a fraction of seconds. If your friend is nearby or only a few meters away, is this an efficient way of connecting? Would the operational costs of connection be cheaper if we used a more logical path? Are people paying too much for their data plan, and can it be cheaper?

Problem 1: Network Infrastructure is a Bottleneck to Connectivity

If you haven’t experienced it, there is a real slowdown in cellular services during peak hours in cities like New York, Mumbai, etc..The slowdown is caused by bottlenecks created by infrastructure during heavy traffic demand from users. There is simply not enough capacity to deliver.

Mumbai, India

On the other hand, data consumption has also been increasing, and will continue to. With the introduction of new, larger-screen smartphones, and mobile-data-plan that support high resolution applications, gigabytes used per month per user are rising. According to Cisco, global mobile data traffic grew 63 percent in 2016, reaching 7.2 exabytes per month at the end of 2016, up from 4.4 exabytes per month at the end of 2015. Can the existing infrastructures cannot support the demand.

Some say that 5G will be the solution. But is 5G the right solution?

5G cellular networks promise to provide ubiquitous connectivity, extremely low latency, and very high-speed data transfer. Unfortunately, there is a massive cost involved for the telcos to upgrade their existing infrastructures. And these telcos are still yet to recover the cost of their current investment. Spectrums are finite, and network infrastructure is expensive and always needs upgrading. CAPEX/OPEX vs return doesn’t make sense.

Infrastructures are insufficient to support the growing capacity of user needs.

Problem 2: The Unconnected World

There are nearly 4 billion people (53% of the world population)who do not have access to Internet connectivity. And so these are 4 billion people lack the societal and economic benefits brought about by connectivity. According to PwCStrategy&, affordability is the main barrier to Internet. The PWC study noted that data prices needed to fall by around 90% below 2016 prices on average to be universally affordable. However, PwC concludes universal affordability is “challenging” given that margins on data are already negative in many developing countries. In order for everyone to stay connected data prices should reduce while an increase in capacity to deal with ever-increasing data demand.

Photo credit and source: SIEGFRIED MODOLA / REUTERS

Facebook, Google and SpaceX are also working on “Connecting the Next Billion” as a part of their global mission. They have invested millions of dollars in these moonshot projects that are solely dependent on sophisticated expensive infrastructures such as the drones, weather balloon, etc.

Connecting the unconnected is a huge monumental task.

We Need To Rethink Connectivity

In order to solve the two problems above, we need a cost-effective solution that will reach the unconnected and support the increasing user demand while not being a huge investment for the telco. In short, we need to start thinking more about decentralized and truly peer-to-peer networks, such as mesh networks. A true peer-to-peer network that is independent of internet and network infrastructures to relay data. Most of us think mesh networks are useful only during crisis or disaster, especially when all infrastructures are down. Situations like Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines, which left citizens with no connectivity. In a devastating situation like this, we at RightMesh believe Mesh is not only the core solution but a POWERFUL one that can revolutionize how we access the internet. It can fundamentally change the Internet model, beyond just natural disasters.

How does RightMesh envision to build a true peer-peer infrastructure-less network? Is it possible to access the internet without infrastructure? YES! Imagine your mobile phone could connect to another mobile phone nearby (Peer-to-peer connection) and that connectivity can spread to many smart devices nearby; therefore, every phone is connected to each other through the RightMesh Platform. Picture not only phones but each and every device connected to other, IoT devices, autonomous cars etc.. This is the future of connectivity.

Mesh-ify your App

As part of our mission to connect the next billion people with mesh technology, RightMesh has created an Android SDK. Developers will be able to retrofit their existing apps, or create new mesh-enabled apps by integrating a few simple lines of code. RightMesh can enable apps to be independent on network infrastructures to provide services to their users and generate revenue.

Today app companies primarily generate revenue from three streams:

  • Ads.
  • In-app purchases.
  • Paid services.

Mobile ads, which are a primary revenue source for many app developers, can only be shown if their user is connected to the internet. Similarly, the user needs to remain connected in order to click on the ad and ‘convert’. If the user is not connected, there is no revenue for the developer. RightMesh can help by distributing mobile ads to ‘offline users’. As long as one user in a RightMesh network has an internet connection, ads can be downloaded, cached and distributed locally to all other users in the network. Conversions from those users can then occur as well.

Another major problem that app developers face today is around app discovery and app distribution. The current impedance and only way to discover or to download apps are through GooglePlay (Android) or the Apple App Store (iOS) etc. And again, these distribution channels are solely dependent on internet. There are cases in developing countries where app distributions happens through a memory card. In this way, apps can not reach everyone and it becomes impossible to discover new apps. RightMesh can enable a platform for offline app distribution, targeting the location based intent of users. This makes it easier for users to discover new apps at the right time and right location, and they can then download them without the Internet.

Tanay Tayal (co-founder of MoonFrog and producer of “Teen-Patti Gold”, one of India’s highest grossing apps ) mentioned this very interesting article https://techcrunch.com/2015/03/11/moonfrog-labs/ ) that one of the major challenges that developers face is the relatively high price of data and unreliable, slow connections. Though the article is slightly old, the problem still exists and it is truly not addressed. Poor connectivity has a major impact on user experience and accordingly the revenue stream (ads or in app purchases). This is also the reason why gaming apps have an offline multiplayer feature to target users who are stringent with data packs. However, the offline multiplayer feature uses single-hop technology like WiFi hotspot or Bluetooth, which has its limitations. RightMesh can enable offline players to play with each other who are available multiple hops away. In-app purchases can now be enabled as long as one user in the mesh has an internet connection. .

Similarly paid services can be provided in a more efficient way. Let’s take an example of Spotify and a user wants to stream or download a song — which is again dependent on the internet model. But if a nearby Spotify user already has this song, Spotify can deliver the song to the user through RightMesh Platform, and there is no need for that user to get connected to the internet.

We at RightMesh also believe that our platform can really benefit and empower local communities of developing countries where users don’t have internet connections. We admire AirJaldi who started providing internet connectivity to 1000’s using Wireless Mesh Networks and is currently available in some of remotest corners of the India. RightMesh can help Airjaldi achieve its goal of connecting the unconnected even further while reducing the OPEX/CAPEX thereby providing cheaper data rates to users.

The Real Power of Mesh Networks

Mesh networks are revolutionary, it will connect billions of people, and make it affordable and accessible to the average person. Not everyone uses their data storage, bandwidth, and processing power at the same time. And so instead of relying on companies to store your data, this version of the mesh-web would break down your data into microscopic encrypted chunks and scatter it among other people’s unused storage spaces. And in turn, users can be incentivised for sharing their storage and processing power.

FileCoin and Golem are examples of decentralized applications utilizing blockchain technology that allow users to share file storage and processing power respectively. In the same way, RightMesh aims to build the world’s first decentralized internet with its own sharing economy. For example, a person from a remote village in India could be a part of a RightMesh network, and can earn through participating in the decentralized network (by sharing resources like internet connectivity, storage or ads/apps distribution). And from those earnings, they will be able to afford internet when they need it. We are working towards a future where RightMesh becomes a valuable factor for any person to be a member of the decentralized shared economy and earn rewards that can enrich their life.

Interested to be a part of this future and create it together? I’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me at aldrin@left.io.