Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

VoIP on a bike

Filed under
Sci/Tech

A bicycle-powered, Linux-based VoIP system: not your usual high-tech architecture. But what if you were one of the more than 1 billion people living without electricity? No power, no phone.

The mission of Inveneo, a nonprofit group of inveterate high-tech adventurers, is to bring developing communities that never reached a 20th century level of infrastructure into the 21st century. Its bicycle-powered system brings not just VoIP but also e-mail and Web browsing to remote areas, using a combination of Linux and the Asterisk open source PBX.

Inveneo puts everything together with off-the-shelf hardware that is low-cost, easily replaced, and — it is hoped — easy to troubleshoot and fix. It uses Wi-Fi networking to route traffic to a central hub with existing phone infrastructure, with a range as far as 100 miles.

The bicycle, mostly used as a backup to solar power, gives the rider one hour on the phone for every 15 minutes of work. In a village, a user might trade pedaling time for phone time — or get paid by someone who wants to use the phone but doesn’t want to work so hard.

When, at a meeting with Inveneo, I suggested that instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to hit a comet 83 million miles away, the U.S. government should support efforts such as Inveneo’s here on Earth, developer Michael Meisel took umbrage. He pointed out that if we didn’t pay for high-tech research none of the equipment Inveneo is using would exist.

Instead, according to Inveneo CEO Mark Summer, the goal is to get NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) such as ActionAid interested. Inveneo might have an impact on 10 villages, but ActionAid can fund and deploy communications systems to thousands of villages. In addition, Inveneo is working with Cisco to bring what it calls ICT (infrastructure and communications technology) to a half-million schools in Africa.

By connecting remote areas of the world, Inveneo’s efforts will help to improve the health, education, and business opportunities of millions of people. For companies such as Cisco, that’s a smart investment; because when these 1 billion to 2 billion people become connected, they will in short order become consumers.

It is estimated that in 10 years, the combined populations of what we call developing nations will make up 70 percent of the consumers in the world. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if those consumers were familiar with your products and services.

If you are interested in what Inveneo is doing, I suggest you look around its site. I’m sure it will be worth your while in the not-too-distant future.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

Microsoft Hates Linux: Got Caught, Pretended Just an Accident

Early Look at Ubuntu 17.04

  • Trying Out Unity 8 + Mir On Ubuntu 17.04
    With Ubuntu 17.04, Unity 7 with the X.Org Server remains the default desktop environment, but Unity 8 and Mir can be found on the default ISO and it's just a matter of logging out and into the experimental Unity 8 session. It's really easy to try out for those interested. For my tests today I was using an Intel Xeon box with a Radeon RX 470 graphics card atop Ubuntu 17.04's default Mesa packages and kernel. Overall it was an interesting experience and while a lot of bugs remain, the Unity 8 experience was much better than the last time I tried it a few months ago and is almost up to being usable for a daily Linux desktop.
  • The Ubuntu 17.04 Beta Is Now Available to Download
  • They’re Here: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta 2 Flavours Available to Download
  • Ubuntu Linux 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' Final Beta now available for download in multiple DE flavors
    When someone is interested in trying a Linux-based desktop operating system for the first time, they often choose Ubuntu. This is a smart choice, as it is easy to use, well supported, and quite beautiful. Even if you don't like the Unity desktop environment, there are several other DEs, or flavors, from which to choose -- GNOME, KDE, and Xfce to name a few. Today, the Final Beta of Ubuntu 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' becomes available for download. While it is never a good idea to run pre-release software on production machines, Canonical is claiming that it should be largely bug free at this point. In other words, if you understand the risks, it should be fairly safe. Home users aside, this is a good opportunity for administrators to conduct testing prior to the official release next month.

Games for GNU/Linux and CrossOver

San Francisco Open Source Voting System Project Continues On

At the February 15 Elections Commission meeting, the Elections Commission voted unanimously to ask the Mayor's Office to allocate $4 million towards initial development of the open source voting project for the 2018-19 fiscal year (from Aug. 2018 - July 2019). This would go towards initial development once the planning phase is complete. Read more