In late 2014, in what became known as the Umbrella Revolution, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest unfair election practices. In an attempt to disrupt them, the government turned off cell service. Rather than dispersing, individual protesters used an app to access and share information freely. Instead of relying on cellular data or traditional Wi-Fi, these early adopters turned iPhones and Androids into nodes of a localized, ad hoc mini-Internet that was secure, private, and off the grid.

This was a prototype of the Mesh—the device-to-device network that will eventually spread worldwide. It will be the next disruptive advance in technology.

Each modern connected device already has the hardware on board and most of the software needed to create its own Mesh network, by which it can connect itself to all other Mesh devices independent of a provider’s Internet backbone. All that stands in the way of this reality becoming global are a few carrier-imposed limitations and some outdated regulations. This will change sooner rather than later.

Our idea is that this change will be driven by new combinations of code and hardware that will take advantage of the underutilized capacity inherent in routers, phones, drones, and other devices.

Has your company thought about what the future will look like on the Mesh network?

  • Ubiquitous connectivity and access to connected processing power will mean that our devices can warn us all, in advance, of threats or risks.
  • Convenience will increase along with real-time access to hyperlocal knowledge.
  • We will begin moving away from ISP backbones and the centralized Internet.
  • Individual ownership of Mesh nodes will enable each individual to decide autonomously what private information to share with others.

The technologies already exist, and Infinize knows how they will be brought to market.

The rapid pace of disruption in Information Technology has put us on the cusp of the Mesh. It will be a total game-changer in just about everything we do—and will make it possible for us to meet our goals as a decentralized, democratic society. The way we do business, the way we communicate, the way we meet our basic needs will all transform. The hallmark will be a decided shift to the empowerment of the individual, and away from the centralized authority of regulators and providers. Big, centralized data will be supplanted by small data—peer-to-peer sharing, intensely localized networks, and data analytics that emphasize your immediate surroundings.

Adoption will be driven by consumers, not big business. This consumer-driven approach to scaling up new technologies has worked before. Ingenious people tend to put existing things together in new ways that work better. It happened in the 1870s, when telephones and barbed wire came to market at about the same time. Early phone companies neglected to install telephone wiring in rural areas, choosing instead to focus on dense urban markets.

With connecting service unavailable, the rangeland farmers of the Great Plains began to purchase phones independently and connect them out to the barbed wire that encircled all of their properties. With the barbed wire acting as a conduit, the farmers were able to create the first “party lines” and effectively communicate with one another. By the 1920s farmers became the leading users of telephones and were paying less than anyone else for the service.

Infinize is helping the same kind of revolution happen in Mesh connectivity, and this one will reach many more people, much faster. In the 19th century only farmers had barbed wire—but today, nearly everyone has proximity to routers and smartphones.

We’re not just talking about new social media platforms or hardware. Changes will be more fundamental: an explosion of free bandwidth and information; emergence of competitors as well as new opportunities to compete; and new models for planning, financing, and protecting organizations.

If you’re interested in thinking about how your company needs to change, don’t burn daylight on what technologies, who to partner with, or when to act; but rather focus on how technology can help your business and the economy. It’s like Web browsers in the late 90s. Instead of worrying about which browser or server would carry the day, companies should have been figuring out how to rewrite their entire business plans to monetize the WWW.

Care to survive? Then you need to think fast about what this new technology will mean to your company.

Check out Infinize’s blog, white papers, and videos to learn more.

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