CES 2011 has not officially started but the technology demos and press releases have stared in earnest. As I was combing through the press releases I found this one which I had to read twice to ensure I got it right.
Peep Wireless Technology, A Delaware Corporation, is revealing its PeepApp iPhone software at CES in Las Vegas starting today [January 3]. The software App turns every phone into a client/server viral transmitter/receiver. Those “seed phones”, in turn, capture every device with bluetooth, WiFi or other spectrum points (ie: Game Boxes, Pads, Cafes, Bluetooth cars, PC’s, Internet TV’s, numbering over 450 million locations) and cause the Peep Mesh to grow and grow around the world in a repercussive peer-to-peer manner.
The short sweet version is to think of it as software (and in the future hardware, a key fob to multiply the range) to create a sort of global peer-to-peer BitTorrent-like network for voice and data connectivity. Now for the long version.
Peep Wireless Technology has developed software that would virally create a global peer-to-peer phone and internet mesh network without the need for additional infrastructure from telecom operators. It uses a source phone (or phones) connected to the mobile network to spread voice and data to other phones using any devices with Wifi, Bluetooth and optical connectivity it finds within range as nodes within the network to reach other phones, if required. Here is how they describe it.
Peep Wireless Technology (PWT) has developed a new, serverless, cloud-based, peer-to-peer mobile network methodology that can save providers billions of dollars and deliver a much improved way to launch or expand a wireless network regionally and globally, without any new infrastructure.
With the proprietary PWT micro-server installed, a handset instantly becomes an entire, new, cloud-based phone network. PWT can also make any existing phone expand to join the Peep global system. This unique, proprietary technology offers the ability to interact with any phone anywhere in the world, over IP. PWT can move across any carrier system, via a “backdoor” technology that Peep has engineered. Peep devices make voice and data calls by seeking and using the entire free spectrum adjacent to them.
Why might a consumer want this? They would never need to pay a phone bill again and all their email, internet and media access would be free forever and they would control a new type of internet/mobile network. An embedded social network structure pays them to use the system and transact with the App. (See Peep Consumer Network)
Why might a network owner want this? It saves them billions of dollars and years of build-out time and doubles their capacity almost overnight. It creates instant, low-cost, femtocell, picocell and dead-zone fill-in solutions. (See Peep Business Services)
These are lofty goals by Peep Wireless but and I was nodding along until the part where they said FREE for consumers (no need to pay a phone bill) and consumers getting paid for use of their mobile devices (really?). Isn’t the goal of the mobile carriers in building out their network to reach more consumers and provide them voice, data and valued added services and generate more revenue?
It seems PWT is betting that their software means it costs operators so far less to reach so much more people that they still make huge profits and happily pay some consumers to act as ‘walking towers’. However my gut reaction is it feels like the kind of technology that global operators will mesh together to kill and since it requires a backdoor they can (and most likely will) easily shutdown the technology when required, although PWT claims otherwise.
The company which is currently in stealth mode and raising financing is showcasing the technology to only potential investors and select media people under a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and they do seem to have a plan for this scenario. In a PC World article, a spokesman stated;
“We are first pitching to phone companies so we assume they will provide their systems. If they don’t then we will sell to Google, Facebook, Comcast, etc. who can then BE a phone company. If they don’t sign up then we will give it to consumers directly and they can do it themselves and eliminate cell phone companies. We don’t need any cell phone company to cooperate for the Mesh to stay hot. We have a work around.”
We will follow more coverage of Peep Wireless as it emerges at CES and beyond.