ARUE, Tahiti and SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Open Garden announced today a partnership with the City of Arue, the Minister of Digital Strategy and Smart Tahiti Networks (STN) to deploy a island-wide 'mesh' network that works independently of cell networks and Internet connections. Open Garden is the creator of FireChat, the first mobile app that works without access to the Internet or cell networks.
Citizens of French Polynesia can now communicate with each other for free, using just their phones and without the need for a data plan or an Internet connection. They can send encrypted private messages or public messages visible by all the members of the community in real time. By connecting the phones directly with one another through peer-to-peer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, FireChat enables people to create their own network, a "People's Network."
Philip Schyle, Mayor of Arue, said, "I'm thrilled that Arue is the one of the first cities in the world to create a free network for citizens to communicate every day. And with the risk that a hurricane reaches our island this year, we will benefit from a resilient communications network in the event that traditional cellular networks are congested or impaired."
Thierry Lehartel, CEO of Smart Tahiti Networks, said, "We're working to make communications easier, more reliable and cheaper in French Polynesia. We believe that FireChat is a innovative solution that contributes to our goals."
Teva Rohfritsch, Minister of Digital Strategy, said, "We fully support this initiative and encourage everyone involved in the growth of our Polynesian digital ecosystem to build similar partnerships. We look forward to seeing how the citizens of French Polynesia embrace and use this new technology. The ability to share early warning messages in real time across the islands is very useful for our country, especially during this period of hurricane watch. I'm sure this app will deliver many other benefits, but that's what we're the most interested in, at the level of the government."
The project was presented to the Chief of Staff and the department heads of the Defense and Public Safety of the Haut-commissariat of French Polynesia, who expressed their interest for the initiative especially in crisis situations.
"We are very grateful for the opportunity to work on the Smart Tahiti project spearheaded by STN and with the City of Arue," said Christophe Daligault, CMO of Open Garden. "Our technology alleviates the dependency on traditional infrastructure and enables communities to create their own free communication networks that are disaster-proof."
To join the People's Network, follow this link on your smartphone: http://firech.at/SmartTahiti
About Smart Tahiti Networks (STN)
Smart Tahiti Networks is a new generation network operator dedicated to offer the most innovative and affordable telecommunication platform to all French Polynesian Citizens. The company launched in 2013 under the NiuTV brand, the first Polynesian hybrid OTT video platform optimized for bandwidth constrained markets. In 2015, the company decided to extend the platform capabilities and focus on offering a sustainable communication and service infrastructure to imagine and develop new local services.
City of Arue
The city of Arue is one of the most progressive and technology focused communities in Tahiti. Always in the forefront of innovation, the City has for ambition to become the first « Smart City » in French Polynesia to better the life of its constituents, improve the quality of its services and create a sustainable development infrastructure. Arue was the first city to offer free Wifi, to implement a city-wide surveillance video system and deploy smart waste management.
About Open Garden & FireChat
Open Garden Inc. is a San Francisco-based startup dedicated to connecting the next 5 billion mobile devices with peer-to-peer connections. Open Garden won an Innovation Award at SXSW 2015. FireChat is the first messaging app that works-off-the-grid. FireChat is free and available for iOS and Android devices. Launched in March 2014, FireChat has reached the top 10 amongst social networking apps in 124 countries around the world. For more information about how FireChat works, watch this short video.
SOURCE Open Garden