OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

OpenSlum

Use mobile mesh network to faciliate communication and emergency alerts in urban slums.

Photo of Lawrence
1 6

Written by

EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Research shows high penetration of mobile phones in slum areas (34% have no access to toilets but 63% owns a mobile phone). This trend will likely continue as techology improves and become more and more affordable. The high concentration of mobile phones is perfect for creating a mesh network (OpenGarden Firechat, thethingsnetwork.org or the like). As this system works without a data plan and where there is no Internet connection or cellular phone coverage, you can create local communication networks at near zero cost. This will benefit the community by providing free communication. In times of emergency, this network can be used as alert system. For emergency alerts, perhaps one (or two) full time admin staff is required per slum, who is responsible for boardcasting "official" alerts to the network. To be self-sustaining, the cost of permanent staff can be supported via advertising if a dedicated app is created (a dedicated mesh network app with admin user supported by in app advertising). Alternative can be community volunteer based or donation supported. By helping create a stronger social network, this will also aid recovery from natural disasters.

WHO BENEFITS?

The targeted beneficiaries are communities in low income, high density urban areas. The idea can be implemented in any slum areas where there is a high penetration of mobile phones.

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

By its nature, a mesh network is ideal method of communication for slum areas. Low cost, robust and works better the more people are using it. Picture credit: Godwin D (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/godwind/1943147472/

IN-COUNTRY EXPERIENCE

  • Not yet

EXPERTISE

  • I do not have experience working in a sector related to my idea

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

  • This idea is meant to inspire - I hope someone else takes it on!

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

Sustainability engineer from Sydney, Australia

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Nice provocation Lawrence! On the topic of leveraging mobile networks, you'll be curious to check out some of the research from our Fight Ebloa challenge. We're always keen on bringing analogous inspirations and thinking to change the way we approach tough problems.

Fight Ebola Boost Tracking & Communication Research: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fighting-ebola/research/assignments/mission-boost-exposure-tracking-and-communication1