Meet the individuals and groups who submitted the winning proposals for the communicate challenge, which sought new and innovative ways to improve secure communications with and between conflict-affected communities or those at imminent risk. These winning submissions were chosen on the basis of impact, innovation, scalability and feasibility.
The Serval Project offers software for smartphones that enables easy, private, stand-alone mobile communications that function even in the face of catastrophic infrastructure failure. The Serval Project can use existing smartphones, while allowing individuals to keep their existing phone numbers but continue communicating during a disaster or catastrophe.
IVR Junction is a free and open-source tool that offers flexible and robust voice-based communication. It works by connecting an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to cloud services such as YouTube, Facebook and other social media. Using IVR Junction, anyone with an ordinary Windows-based laptop and modem can establish a voice forum. Affected populations can record and listen to posts via mobile phone, while the global community can access and contribute recordings via the Internet.
The central theme of this proposal is that there may not be one symmetric communications capability available in all situations, with fundamentally different obstacles to communication at play in each direction of contact. In this proposal, support of the downstream can best be achieved by AM "pirate" radio broadcasting to cheap wind-up radios, while support of the upstream can best be achieved by a Tethr-like device built with an SMS / voice message buffering and burst transmitter capability.