The Mesh Network Design to Bring Internet to Rural Places

My final project is focused on bringing a free, ever-growing, and secure internet to rural towns in America who do not have access to high-speed internet. I am developing a compact piece of technology that is a Wi-Fi repeater. The concept of a WI-FI repeater is not a new one, repeaters are used to retransmit signals to different areas now. My WI-FI repeater will work on and repeat a mesh network, this is a network that is routed to extend service areas while allowing for self-healing in addition to self-organizing assets ( Glass, S., Portmann, M., Portmann, M., Muthukkumarasamy, V., & Muthukkumarasamy, V. 2008). The use of ad-hoc networking allows mesh networks to have these two incredible features. This mesh network takes the traditional “star” system of wireless communication and transforms it into an interweaving or “mesh” connection. With the mesh connection accessible through the WIFI repeater, any device (PC, Tablet, IPhone, etc.) can connect with the mesh network, making them nodes. These nodes then grow the network while supplying internet to any node within the Wi-Fi space that connects to the network ( Akyildiz, I. F., & Wang, X. (2005). My theory is that by equipping small towns in rural areas with their own specific repeaters and through educating the communities, this device can help bring mesh network internet services to communities. It is important to note that this technology is not being developed to supply high download and streaming speeds to rural areas. Instead, it is being developed to bring basic wireless internet connections to towns still using dial up features.

Kakihara and Sorenson dissect the concept of mobility, breaking it up into spatial, temporal, and contextual (2001). Spatial is detailed as having to do with the mobility of objects, symbols, and space (2001, p.31). Upon connecting to the mesh network system via smartphone, computer, or tablets, the device becomes an enabling node of the network. The connecting device then enables the network to grow and span a larger area of mobility. Consequently, the device itself becomes the physical representation of the network and as it moves through physical space the connection and possibility to connect does too. “A loosely connected network of computers brings forth a virtual spatiality – a ‘virtual community’ or ‘cyber community,’” Kakihara and Sorensen say (2001, p. 34). The technology I am purposing in essence takes the devices and appliance of people in a physical community to create their own “cyber” or “virtual” community.

Temporal is the second aspect of mobility discussed by Kakihara and Sorenson. Temporal meaning moving across time, generations and different periods (2001). Through the make-up of the mesh network I am looking to deploy, at any specific time the connection sequence can change in efforts to allow the device a stronger connection. For instance, if a community member is signed in to the network and using a neighboring device as a connection node. A household member logs in, the connection link will change to support the in house items more thoroughly, possibly discarding the initial neighboring connection. The use of a mesh-network allows for connection links to change at any node location to supply the best internet possible for that device.

Kakihara and Sorenson’s last attribute for mobility is contextual mobility, or the context of where the conversation is held. The technology I am developing is to be used within local rural communities. Implementation of the technology and network would give a digital voice to communities that are without them currently. In doing this, use of the network would allow the community to use applications and services to communicate within the community and outside the community.

In deploying my technology I came across security concerns. How secure will this connection be? These connections are maintained by the community independent of third party Internet Service Provider addresses. The network instead relies on interconnecting devices of the community. So on one hand, these networks are not assessable to the internet’s back doors or the surveillance techniques Fung discusses the police use, fake cell phone towers and stingrays (2014). Marwick defines social surveillance as a way of tracking information about people to feel power over another (2012). The network itself does not provide the social information Marwick believes leads to social surveillance. Yet, that does not make the connection 100% safe either. The mesh network would have to be thoroughly encrypted with a system of checks to protect against attacks that may leak information. Grayhole, Sybil, and blackhole attacks are just some of the attacks that can be set up by malicious nodes to gain access to private information (Sen, 2012). Though the mesh network protects against social surveillance and police spyware the make-up of the connection can lead to attacks in which personal information can be found.

It is significant to touch on the effects of my technology and social media. Though my technology and its deployment involve no social media features, through its use social media may become assessable and I feel it is important to touch on the possible outcomes of this since social media has become such an integral part of our society. The implement of this technology could possibly allow users to connect to social media for the first time. In which the users would become aware of mobile communication and building social networks. To Humphreys, “mobile interactions with social networks are those interactions center[ed] on connection or communication with people through mobile media”. (2012, p.495). It is through this view that I think implementation of these mesh networks could lead to the use of social media in places currently not using the sphere. In doing this the digital divide in terms of using social media for personal, business, and local use would shrink.

The internet and mobile technologies continue to advance in America every day.  My technology would allow for rural towns that have been denied this access to fiber optic internet speeds to “catch up.” Though the speed of the internet will not be as powerful as the industry standard, the tech would still allow for updated speeds for the community. Interestingly, the use of the technology and connecting to the mesh network would be looked at as a social obligation by community members. As it is the community who control, grow, and share the connection. This technology will allow the small no name towns to be heard in the virtual space while fostering a communal pride by running the network.

  • Akyildiz, I. F., & Wang, X. (2005). A survey on wireless mesh networks. IEEE Communications Magazine, 43(9), S23-S30. doi:10.1109/MCOM.2005.1509968
  • Fung, B. (2014, June 3). How hard should it be for cops to track your location? A new lawsuit revives the debate. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  • Glass, S., Glass, S., Portmann, M., Portmann, M., Muthukkumarasamy, V., & Muthukkumarasamy, V. (2008). Securing wireless mesh networks. IEEE Internet Computing, 12(4), 30-36. doi:10.1109/MIC.2008.85
  • Humphreys, Lee. (2012). “Connecting, Coordinating, Cataloguing: Communicative Practices on Mobile Social Networks,” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56:4, 495
  • Kakihara, Masao & Sorensen, Carsten. (2001). Expanding the ‘Mobility’ Concept. SIGGROUP Bulletin, 22(3), 33-37
  • Marwick, Alice.(2012). “Public Domain: Surveillance in everyday life.” Surveillance & Society. 9(4): 378-393
  • Sen, J. (2012). A secure and user privacy-preserving searching protocol for peer-to-peer networks. International Journal of Communication Networks and Information Security, 4(1), 29.

Buycott’s Approach to Social Justice Design

Buycott is an app that allows you to become educated on which causes you fund when buying food. The application uses the camera interface of a mobile device to scan the barcode of an item. Then the parent company of the item is searched in the database to cross-check with ethical principles, outlined as campaigns, in which the user is for. As the debate whether companies should be legally made to label GMO’s continues Buycott is an app that places the power into the user’s hands instead of relying on government changes to policy to catch up with the times. Additionally, the campaign aspect allows users to support causes they believe in such. If a user for instance supports LGBT rights and is aligned with that campaign a simple scan of a product will provide information if the parent company of that product is aligned with the users principles. Below is a video that allows you to see exactly how Buycott works.

The interesting thing about Buycott in terms of this class is in its User-Created Design that is a leading example of sustainability in a project. The Light and Luckin reading states that, “the critical question in all this is where is information to come from if it is to be relevant and usable to local populations and where is the support to come from if information is to become knowledge? Are information only projects sustainable? Or is the step to knowledge vital for sustainability? (2008, p. 25). The design team of Buycott acknowledges the challenges of its application idea. If the application fails to have information about a product in its database it cannot accurately inform the user. To combat this the application effectively changes the user from a passive user to an active user. If a product is not found in the database the application will ask for the user to identify the product by name, brand name, and company name effectively adding it into large database. The developers even call on users to help them build the database on their “about” section in the website. “..We need your help maintaining and improving the integrity of the data. New users can ass unknown products they scan, and also contribute contact and background information for existing companies or vote on the accuracy of information that’s already been added” (Buycott, 2014). According to Light and Luckin, this is a very Amarya Sen view of approaching social justice and design. In which the application “requires us to enable people to engage in the activities necessary to achieve what they want, rather than to give them what they want” (2008, p. 9).

In an effort to enable users through its design, Buycott successfully fives power to citizens. This power is found in the ability to choose to buy products that align with the user’s ethics, giving them the power to go against organizations they see as unjust. Foucault believed that power should be present in fluid and in mundane day-to-day activities that make up human life, in Buycotts case being a consumer (Marwick 2012, pg 382).What is interesting is through this idea of giving power to society to conveniently check and add information in regards to the social alignment of products Buycott allows individuals to have speak against companies that do not grant social justice. The application allows for access of information in effort to use this knowledge to help disabled persons. In the case of the” Boycott Goodwill Industries” Campaign, the campaign aims to boycott Goodwill until the company changes their policies from paying disabled employees sub-minimum wages. This is indeed a form of “dismantling the oppressive power relations of disability in our societies,” attempting to wash away the view of the disabled as others ( Goggin, p. 102).

Buycott. (2014, January 1) Retrieved March8, 2015 from https.//www.buycott.com/

Goggin, G. (2006). Cell phone culture: Mobile technology in everyday life(pp. 102-103 ). London: Routledge.

Light, A., & Luckin, R. (2008). Designing for social justice: People, technology, learning. (pp. 9, 25)

Marwick, Alice. (2002). “Public Domain: Surveillance in everyday life.” Surveillance & Society, 9(4): 382-384

Meshing the Digital Divide

The digital divide is defined as the “gap between individuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels in regards to opportunities access information and use communication technologies (ICTs) and their use of the internet for a wide variety of activities” (OECD, 2011). Lei & Zhou believe the digital divide “refers to the technology capacity gap between those who have accesses to rich digital information and those who have not” (Lei & Zhup.45).

In 2014, it was estimated that around 15 million Americans do not have access to entry-level broadband Internet connections (Wheeler, 2014). Most of these Americans live in rural areas around the country, though that is not the only place this connectivity issue can be found. In urban areas, 31% of schools lack access to fiber-optic networks while the number shoots to 41% for rural areas (Wheeler, 2014). Our schools and libraries must have access to fiber-optic connections to give students the most innovative tools for them to gain an education with. As we move further and further into the digital age it has become imperative that our children understand what Internet access can bring them. It is even more important that they learn Internet literacy and how to use the Internet in a positive way.

You may remember the uprising in Egypt in 2011 or more recently the protests headed by college students that have been going on in Hong Kong. These groups of activists both saw their government’s block and in some cases even shut down the Internet. In both cases, the activists turned to what is known as a “mesh-network” (Knibbs, 2014 Tofel, 2011). A mesh network is that enables a communication technologies device to receive and transmit signals. Tofel calims the mesh network to do “much like a router for does in wireless homes” (Tofel, 2011). In Hong Kong protesters are using an app called FireChat that assist people in creating mesh-networks for their phones. FireChat works using Bluetooth technology on the mobile phone to link with other mobile devices setting up a network (Knibbs, 2014). Even if one device goes off line this does not harm the network. Currently FireChat supports a geographical limit of 200 feet per connection. Given the right set of connections the network could stretch for miles on end.

My idea is to create a mesh-network application that runs across all phones, tablets, and computers regardless of operating system. This application is being made for schools and libraries to bring higher speed Internet connections to learning school children. I’d like to use the theory of mesh-networks to bring high-speed Internet access to these learning institutions. In Red Hook Brooklyn, students set up their own Wi-Fi mesh networks with help of a local ISP Brooklyn Fiber (Lumb, 2013). The application will be sign in based on all systems, in which once signed in the system searches for a close high-speed connection. The more devices connected to the application, the more options of better speeds will become available. This idea will allow fast Internet into schools and libraries without the cost of digging up old phone lines.

References

Knibbs, K. (2014, September 24). Protesters Are Using FireChat’s Mesh Networks To Organize in Hong Kong. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://gizmodo.com/protesters-are-using-firechat-to-organize-in-hong-kong-1640271776

Lei, J., & Zhou, J. (2012). Digital Divide: How Do Home Internet Access and Parental Support Affect Student Outcomes?. Education (Basel) 2:45-53/ DOI:10.3390/educ2010045

Lumb, D. (2013, October 25). How To Build A Low-Cost. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.fastcolabs.com/3020680/how-to-build-a-low-cost-wifi-mesh-network-for-emergency-communication

OECD iLibrary. (2001). Understanding the digital divide

Wheeler, T. (2014, November 20). Closing the Digital Divide in Rural America. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.fcc.gov/blog/closing-digital-divide-rural-america

The Digital Divide In America

In the 21st century there is an ever-growing moral debate on why some people do not have the access to the Internet and communication technologies others do. Is there anything that society can do to help bring these communication challenged places up to par?

The digital divide is defined as the “gap between individuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels in regards to opportunities access information and use communication technologies (ICTs) and their use of the internet for a wide variety of activities” (OECD, 2011). Lei & Zhou believe the digital divide “refers to the technology capacity gap between those who have accesses to rich digital information and those who have not” (Lei & Zhou.45). This divide is not only found internationally but is ever apparent domestically for all nations. The OECD compiled a list of indicators as to why this divide occurs. Telecommunication infrastructures must be available geographically for any communication technology use( OCED,5). Still, there are societies that do not have the opportunity to access the internet with these infrastructures in place. Computer availability along with access to the Internet are outlined as readiness factors for the integration of modern day communication use. Domestically, income and education are the two biggest determinants of communication technology opportunities. Education has a direct correlation on income level, which can determine an individual’s access to communication technologies.

In the United States of America, the digital divide is alive. Many employers require you to apply online for the opportunity to get a job. Every year America is implementing the Internet and communication technologies into education systems to help children and adults learn. Access to high-speed Internet is growing increasingly into a necessity not a luxury. In 2013, the New York Post ran an article describing how middle school students in a small rural Alabama had to use the local McDonald’s Wi-Fi network to finish homework once the library closed (Moyes & company, 2013). Increasingly, without Internet access it impossible to own a business and even get adequate government benefits without going online (Moyes & company, 2013). Internet companies use an expensive fiber optic wire to deliver Internet access. To bring this to rural areas would call for the digging up of the copper wire lines and replacing them with fiber-optic ones. For 80% of Americans this process cuts out much of the competition for Internet access, their only choice is to sign up for the local cable company (Moyes & company, 2013). A study done in 2014 by the Open Technology Institute from the New America Foundation shows that American’s pay more for slower Internet compared to other countries. In New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, Dc the cost for 500-megabit connection for a month is $300. While in Seoul, South Korea around 1000-megabit connection run at $30 a month. The same connection can be found in Hong Kong for $37 and in Tokyo for $39. (CNN Wire, 2014)

The cause of the digital divide in America can be narrowed down to money. It is a huge expense to implement fiber-optic cables nation-wide. Many call for citizen to pressure local and national governments to bring Internet access to all Americans. The government in Lafayette, Louisiana decided to build every home in business in town a fiber-optic wire to access the Internet (Moyes & company, 2013). The community built its own fiber optic networks through its municipal the power and water company. This way is wholesale Internet that allows the hospital, police stations, and other institutions to have a low rate connection to the Internet. The FCC’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, claims he will work to break the hold of big companies on Internet access.

Citations

  • Americans pay more for slower Internet. (2014,). CNN Wire
  • Lei, J., & Zhou, J. (2012). Digital Divide: How Do Home Internet Access and Parental Support Affect Student Outcomes?. Education (Basel) 2:45-53/ DOI:10.3390/educ2010045
  • Moyers & company: Who’s widening America’s digital divide? Moyers, B. D., Public Affairs Television (Firm), Films Media Group and Films for the Humanities & Sciences (Firm) (Directors). (2013).[Video/DVD] New York, N.Y: Films Media Group.
  • OECD iLibrary. (2001). Understanding the digital divide
  • Troianovski, A. (2013, ). The web-deprived study at McDonald’s. The Wall Street Journal Eastern Edition

Could Augmented Reality Help Boost Album Sales?

In this essay I would like to begin a discussion on using augmented reality in the music industry. Specifically I want to address the use of augmented reality via the mobile phone in an effort to increase marketing awareness and sales of music. The music industry has seen dramatic decrease in album sales recently. In August of 2014 Billboard reported that weekly albums sales calculated by Nielsen Soundscan had fallen to the lowest ever (Christman & Peoples). I think integrating augmented objects in creative ways to bring place and meaning to albums could lead to a reinvention of the album to the modern day consumer.

The documentation of history using media can be dated back to stone tablets and cave paintings. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks used papyrus as early as 3000 BCE (Paper History, n.d.). This began the use of portable media in written form. In 1440 Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press allowed for written media to be produced on a mass scale (Mumford, 2007). Samuel Morse submitted his patent for the first telegraph in 183 (Peterson, J. n.d.). Thirty-nine years later, in 1876, Alexander Bell submitted his patent for the telephone. Bells invention took off, by 1910 there were about 10 million telephone users (Goggin, 2006, pg 21-22). The landline had made its mark on society. Interestingly the mobile phone did not come into play until Martin Cooper made the first mobile telephone call on April 3, 1973 (Seward, Z. 2013). IBM introduced the first smartphone in 1992. That same year “Merry Christmas” became the first text message sent from Richard Jarvis on December 3, 1992 (Limer, 2012). Seven years later in 1999 Benefon, a mobile phone manufacturer, put the first GPS system into a mobile phone (Sullivan, 2012). These technological advances to the phone are what allowed it to become the social device it is today. The use of mobile phones is staggering. eMarketer predicted 4.55 billion mobile phone users in 2014 with 1.75 being smartphone users (eMarketer, 2014).

The mobile device has evolved and with it mobile media is becoming a hot topic specifically with augmented reality. Tony Liao and Lee Humphreys (2014) say augmented reality mixes virtual and real spaces. To be considered augmented reality the technology must be registered in three-dimensions, real-time, and interactive (p1). This technology allows for the annotation of place through a lens. In this case the mobile device is the lens. Upon an annotation of a place, the places meaning and understanding to society can be questioned and even transformed (Liao, 2015, Lecture). Liao believes using augmented reality allows for the reaction of space and the historicizing of events (Liao, 2015, Lecture). Layar is a mobile phone augmented reality app that allows the user to create and view augmented objects. Below is a video on how Layar works.

“Layar displays points of interest (POIs), user-created annotations, or

graphics based on the Global Positioning System (GPS) location of the device and orientation of the built-in camera, compass, and accelerometer” (Liao & Humpries, 2014, p6). Additionally, the app allows users to create augmented content and place it at different location geographically.

The music industry is having a problem with transitioning into modern day formats to deliver albums on. In 2014, people can purchase an album in a physical form or a digital form. Physically, albums can be bought in the form of vinyl, compact disc, cassette, and DVD. CD’s are the largest of this market but have been dwindling every year in America. In 2013 CD’s combined for 57.2% of the market, which is down from 61.2% in 2012, and 67.6% in 2011 (Caulfield, 2014). It was believed that digitally selling albums could prove to be the answer for the industry but recent trends tell a different story. At the end of 2013, Billboard released its annual end of the year music report announcing that digital sales had dropped a total of 6% from 2012 (Greenburg, 2014). Historically this is the first drop in digital sales since ITunes was introduced in 2001. With both digital and physical album sales declining, streaming saw an increase of 33% in 2013 (Greenburg). The problem with streaming is that plays do not bring in nearly the same amount of revenue as song buys, 1,500 to 1 according to Chris Molanphy (2014). This trend underlines that people do not care about ownership of music as much as the ongoing consumption do to the twenty-four hour media cycle our society now lives in.

In Liao’s lecture (2014) he points some interesting marking statistics found in Hidden Creative’s “Pepsi Challenge.” The challenge tested augmented reality advertising versus the traditional 2D advertising. Results of the study show that advertisements took one minute and twenty-three second to examine versus twelve second for 2D. Additionally, the study found a 74% willingness to buy an augmented reality advertised product compared to 45% in 2D. Finally, the perceived value of a product was £7.99 when AR advertising was used and £5.99 for 2D advertising (Laio, 2014, Lecture). This study shows that the use of augmented reality in advertisements keeps the viewers attention longer, increases the consumers’ willingness to buy a product, and raises the perceived value of the product.

Album sales have seen a decrease due the change of the consumer thinking brought on by media. Today consumers simply do not have the time or money to purchase an album in which they may only enjoy a couple tracks when they can get the whole album for free. To combat this the music industry must look to use technological advances that allow for electronic media to be used in a positive way for album sales. This requires a change in thinking from older models of album creation and distribution to more modern ones in which the consumer is interested in how the album is distributed and the artist interactivity as much as the content of the album. I believe the music industry could incorporate AR object technology to increase album sales. An example of one way to do this can be found in this video displaying DJ QBerts new album cover.

Non-traditional forms of marketing like using augmented objects can pave the way for artist and management to effective set budgets that will garner more revenue for albums. The augmentation of albums would make buying an album special again. It would also allow for extra content to be used on the space of the album. If geared right this content could include bonus content, music videos, and even new creative liner notes for albums. All of this would make the consumer more likely to buy the album.

Citations

Citations

Introduction Post

Hello Everyone!

My lovely parents named me Dwayne Hayes Jr. I am in my last semester at Temple University in the production track of MSP.  I will be also graduating with a minor in digital media technology. I am studying to become an audio engineer with dreams of owning my own studio.  Currently, I am in the last class of the digital media technology class in which students create their own mobile app. This course interested me because it can help me build my app and understand how mobile media can help with my audio engineering career. I have dreams of building a community of media practitioners and I think this class will only assist that dream. This video featuring CoolHandDuke was shot and produced through our community last year!

Mobile media allowed me to capture this picture from the video above.

Pano BTS shot
Pano BTS shot

While in this course I want to learn how to harness the power of mobile media to create a community. Mobile media allows people to feel apart of something through the 24/7 news and media cycle that has developed through social media. Mobile devices are no longer just phones, they have grown to tablets, and very soon wearable technology. This accessibility will only add to the mobile media frenzy we live in. I’d like to understand what our culture loves about mobile media and use it to develop a community for the non professional media creators.

Audio engineering is what I love to do. I enjoy every process of engineering audio, recording, mixing, and mastering. Over the summer I interned through Temple Study Away in California as an assistant engineer and currently work for WHIP radio as a broadcast engineer. This semester I am looking to get involved with Bell Tower Music and put the newly renovated Studio G Austin spoke about to use. My twitter handle is @ze_Lynwood. Game of Thrones is my favorite television show.

Sources:

Bennet, S., & Belack, J. (n.d.). Cool Hand Duke – Elder Blossoms & Elevator Music. Retrieved January 20, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNxsOMc2Yu0

Department of Film and Media Arts. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2015, from http://smc.temple.edu/fma/la/

Hayes, Dwayne (n.d.) Pano BTS Shot