Our patent-pending offline Internet solution comprises cloud based services, content conversion software and resilient low energy servers. The Blu Network uniquely enables our customers to distribute their content to all mobile devices (including radios and basic phones), incredibly quickly and on-demand, without data charges to the end user. The Blu Network Hub overcomes the barriers of no electricity, no Internet, high costs of data and uniquely leverages the high prevalence of basic mobile devices accounting for 75% of handsets in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015. We do this by automatically adapting the content and making it available within the location via Bluetooth, FM radio and Wi-Fi.
The Blu Network Hub offers a number of distinctive features:
- Total Solution– is a complete end to end solution for customers to deliver content and services where the internet is unavailable or unaffordable
- Reach– It uniquely reaches all devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio
- Quality– Its proprietary software automatically adapts and optimizes content for high speed and ease of consumption
- Literacy– It supports people with no or low literacy, by converting web content (even text) into video and audio through its patent pending technology
- Relevance– It delivers only the content and services the customer or community needs
- Reliable– Delivery of locally stored information eliminates reliance on availability of electricity or Internet
- Affordable– Content is shared without data costs to the user and is highly cost effective for customers
- Focussed– The solution is only deployed where it is needed and can be extended through a mesh network of hubs
It is common practice in developing countries for people to use their mobile handset for texting, voice calls and “sideloading”. Sideloading is the method of transferring data between two local devices typically using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and swapping SD cards. The greatest benefit of sideloading is the absence of network charges making it free to the user; furthermore, it is robust and is very fast compared to regular cellular networks.
In response, The Blu Network has developed a local cloud solution which enables mobile and computer technology to connect people to side-loaded, curated, locally relevant content, which resides in situ on a low power server. This is delivered at incredibly fast speeds – in excess of 4G for Wi-Fi devices. The Blu Network technology is uniquely multi-modal and able to access all phones or digital devices by serving up content using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM Radio. The solution comprises a combination of local hubs supported by sophisticated software to manage content and the operation of the hubs. By providing content to all mobiles, be they smart, feature or basic, the Blu Network is positioned to reach over three times more people than a solely Wi-Fi solution.
Blu Network Hubs can operate in harsh environments and in areas with no reliable electricity supply or intermittent or no Internet data access. They can operate as a single unit or be networked to cover larger areas to deliver content and local services. This allows the content to be far reaching and is suitable for isolated rural environments that are out of reach for other solutions. This is important given that over 60% of the population in Africa live rurally.
The software component of the solution comprises five main elements, the first four of which are in the Blu Network Cloud and the fourth on each individual hub:
- A content management system where the customer can remotely manage the uploading and downloading of content to or from the hubs (or this can be outsourced to the Blu Network) as well as configuration of the set-up of hubs and access policies;
- A proprietary system for automatically optimising file size and download speed whilst adapting the content into the most appropriate format to deliver either by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or FM radio to the types of devices that will access it. The transliteration system automatically adapts web content and, in particular, text based content so that people with no or low literacy levels are able to see and listen to the adapted web content in English, French, Germany, Spanish and Portuguese;
- A data analytics dashboard to provide a customer with analytics showing the rich anonymized data on usage captured by the system to show the impact of the content and the solution on the communities and businesses it serves;
- A hub management portal that can control the settings for a particular hub or network of hubs and control the various sites that are available;
- Hub firmware to optimise the performance of delivery of content to devices and the collection of information and data to push to the cloud; the power management solution to minimise the amount of power the hub uses; and the networking with other hubs in a cluster or mesh.
The system can be developed to support databases, learning management systems and, in time, is expected to support financial transactions.