Peep Wireless Promises To Create P2P Viral Mobile Calling

via TechCrunch by John Biggs on 1/4/11



Here we go: the first outrageous claim of CES, right on time. Peep Wireless is attempting to create ad hoc P2P networks between mobile devices by turning them into “client/server viral transmitter/receivers.” What does that mean? It basically piggy backs on the phone’s wireless connection to connect one phone to the next and then route calls that way. Obviously we’re dealing with a few fatal flaws. First, if there’s only one Peep device in the area, you’re SOL. Second, carriers will never allow this, also putting you SOL.

Sascha Segan at PCMag asked how it worked and got this reply:

“Anything with ROM or RAM on it and a bus can use our system,” a company representative said in an email. “Any game box, any car with programmable Bluetooth, any PC in a café with Wi-Fi, any device you can download to or any device that uses a voicemail system. The first app we intend to launch is the iPhone App, to be followed by the Droid app, to be followed by the Win[dows] phone app to be followed by an API for anybody left out in the phone world.”

Ugh…techcrunch is far too dismissive – carriers don’t even come into play for this, precisely because NO network is required for this to work. Yes, you would be SOL when you’re far out of range of others, but it’s kind of silly to think that this wouldn’t improve network dynamics RIGHT OFF THE BAT in areas where not enough network coverage (NYC hear hear).

I traced this article back through techCrunch’s CES coverage page to the PCMag page. The other techcrunch page is just as dismissive, claiming that it wouldn’t work unless the phone were on wifi/bluetooth all the time, but I believe that’s the point. The PCMag article is a little fairer, pointing out that while the tech is pretty cool, it’s still going to take some work.

I could see this working extremely well in cities, where carriers don’t have coverage adequate to the number of users trying to connect (giving them competitive incentive to jump on this). I could also see this working really well in a corporate setting, where impromptu collaboration and work is required. Eventually, I envision a large organic network, where small and large circles of machines interconnected by this tech are further linked to each other by the fixed data network already in place.

It is a long ways off, but most of the technology we need already exists.

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