[VIDEO] BRCK-Modem to improve African net access; Keeps The Internet On When The Power Goes Off, Even In Africa by Ushahidi

Posted In Mobile, Technology, Web - By admin on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 With No Comments »

Brck: an Internet Router Designed for Africa

Even in the developed world the power goes out, your internet provider goes down and Amazon Web Services occasionally crashes your favorite apps. What is an annoyance here can become a life-threatening situation in Africa and other parts of the developing world in the throes of natural disasters and civil strife. The internet—and increasingly the internet of things—is part of the fabric of our everyday lives and we depend upon it for almost everything.

No one is more aware of this than the founders of Ushahidi, a non-profit technology company that builds open source software and digital tools to help people in the developing world use information more effectively. The project began in 2008 when engineers David Kobia, Juliana Rotich, and Erik Hersman built a crowdsourced mapping platform in response to the post-election violence in Kenya (“Ushahidi” means “testimony” in Swahili.) In such a situation, timely access to information can mean survival, and yet maintaining relaible connectivity there proved to be exceedingly difficult.
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The founders realized that one way to meet their goal of improving, “the way information flows in the world,” would be to engineer a device that could provide failsafe internet connectivity in almost any situation. And so, the BRCK was born to make this a convenient, portable and durable reality. Now on the sixth iteration of the prototype, Ushahidi is ready to go into production and just launched a Kickstarter to fund it.

BRCK works much like a cellphone, “by intelligently and seamlessly switching between Ethernet, Wifi, and 3G or 4G mobile phone networks.” It gains connectivity through a standard SIM card and/or ethernet or WiFi connections, and has a smart battery the seamlessly kicks in for 8 hours if the power is interrupted. The BRCK connects to the BRCK Cloud, a “website that you can access from anywhere to check how network connections and electricity are performing on your device. You can also manage alerts and applications remotely from your phone or computer, as well as gather data reported from attached sensors or computers.” The BRCK also has 16GB of memory on board that can be synced to Dropbox and other connected devices and applications.

The BRCK will go on sale in November with a price tag of $199 (£130).-www.brck.com/

The BRCK will go on sale in November with a price tag of $199 (£130).-www.brck.com/

Ushahidi says that the BRCK is “like a backup generator for the internet.” It is extremely small, and designed to be the easiest possible networking device to set up. Once operating, it can connect up to 20 devices with a WiFi signal that can cover several rooms. And it’s tough, following the group’s motto, “if it works in Africa, it will work anywhere.”

Not only can the BRCK provide connectivity to workers on the ground, it can also allow information to flow continuously from sensors in one location that can be monitored remotely and securely. In this way, Ushahidi hope to create robust bridges between sites and sensors in Africa, India, indonesia and elsewhere to the cloud and then anywhere in the world. The group is also launching a public Beta of its Crowdmap software tomorrow (May 6), and Kickstarter supporters will get premium access to the new Crowdmap Plus, as well. The more support Ushahidi gets on Kickstarter, the more features they will be able to build in and the sooner they will be able to get an SDK into the hands of developers to build apps that work with BRCK.

And this is not just some fringe technology for people far away. Many people in the developing world will find this to be a useful device as well. Internet connectivity is spotty in many parts of the U.S. and power outages, extreme storms and other disruptions are becoming if anything more frequent in the developing world as well. Ushahidi has designed the BRCK to be as relevant to “cafe-hoppers in San Francisco [as] to struggling coders in Nairobi.

The BRCK will be available for pre-orders through Kickstarter for $200 and the first 50 early-birds can get one for $150. I predict that the campaign will be a huge success because it is both a worthy cause and a cool thing to have—two of Kickstarter’s major food groups! I know I want one for my survival kit.- Forbes

The BRCK is like a backup generator for the internet.

It works when the electricity goes out and it works when the internet goes down.

  • Portable and easy to set up,
  • It supports up to 20 devices,
  • WiFi powerful enough to cover multiple rooms,
  • 8 Hour battery backup,
  • 16 GB harddrive,
  • 8 GPIO pins to connect sensors,
  • Software infused allows for apps, remote management, and data collection,
  • Documented API.

Our motto has always been “if it works in Africa, it will work anywhere.”

Our aim is to move the BRCK from its current prototype phase into a field-ready product. We need your help to achieve this goal of taking the prototype to production

Kickstarter project Donations : BRCK – your backup generator for the internet by Ushahidi

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