FireChat is hotter than even its name suggest here at SxSW. The application allows you to chat with another user, without requiring any cell or network connection.
Open Garden, the Silicon Valley start-uo that created it lets FireChat use the resident build-in phone radios such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to generate an ad-hoc network that allows to chat.
By creating mesh network based on peer-to-peer connected phones, FireChat circumvents the need for a cellular service, or a ‘official’ wifi network. FireChat allows for phone to phone conversations up to 20 meters, but the service can also hop from phone to phone, extending the service as long as there is a crowd to carry the signal.
FireChat still works when power is down, so is also an ideal application to have in case of emergencies. A hyperlocal network is extremely interesting. It allows for communications that are not track-able, because they do not run on carrier network, or on the internet as such.
Untill the NSA decides otherwise 🙂