Enabling messaging and file transfers between nearby iOS and Android devices

By June 23, 2016Bluetooth, CloseNet

It´s 2016, 21st century, mobile phones have been around for some twenty years, and smart phones have become ubiquitous in the past ten years. Still if I´m using an iPhone and I need to send a digital message, or file to anyone that’s standing right beside me using an Android my best bet is to send him an email with an attachment, or rely on some file sharing platform that goes through a number of servers on the internet, making the bits travel potentially thousands of miles, only to be routed back to the same physical location.

From a user standpoint in some cases this is of no consequence, other times it’s a hindrance, and at times it can be a real pain. If both users have good network connectivity to the internet, and contents are not sensitive in nature it may not be an issue. If just one of them has connectivity problems then it can become at a minimum a hindrance (ie: can you write down the password to your wifi, please? coz I got it wrong for the third time) making the exchange experience less fluid. Finally in some cases it´s a real business pain.

Scenarios where peer to peer connectivity can save your day

For scenarios where:

  • Internet connectivity is bad or not an option at all.For instance:
    • Tradeshows, and conferences. Connectivity in these cases is typically very bad, and there’s a lot of email, and twitter handles exchanges going on which must be spelled out, or provided through a paper card (it’s about time we improve that). Not to mention digital brochures that vendors could hand out from booths.
    • Transit zones when traveling (specially abroad). From airports, to airplanes, to hotel lobbies. What do you do if you need to collaborate with a colleague, while on the go, on a document, a spreadsheet, a presentation? Work separately, wait until you reach somewhere with connectivity, and only then share through email. Leaving the risky consolidation to the end that you might have to pull it off in hurry on the client premises.
    • Disaster zones. In the unfortunate event of an act of God, such an earthquake or a tsunami teams must have alternatives to rely on other than wifi, and internet, in order to communicate a location quickly regardless of network conditions.
  • Contents are very sensitive in nature. In the recent past years we’ve learned that government agencies actively record communications. Not only that, but news of large corporations falling victims to hacking attacks are very frequent, with the stolen data becoming available for sale on internet. There are scenarios were you’d prefer not to leave any traces in any server infrastructure.

There has to be a better way. Well, there is. Wireless networking technologies such as: Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, Wifi direct offer alternatives, allowing to create mesh, peer to peer, nearby networks, where the exchange of information is possible regardless of access to internet.

CloseNet, a free cross platform peer to peer messaging app

CloseNet Radar View
It is with a desire to make possible digital collaboration in these types of scenarios that we implemented CloseNet. By leveraging technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy, and Wifi-Direct, we are able to enable users to discover, message and share files across mobile platforms.

CloseNet is available on iOS, and Android. Users that download the app will see a radar view that enables discovery of peers. CloseNet scans the nearby area, and selects the best supported networking transport given the capabilities of the devices involved.

Users with CloseNet can create loops, like virtual collaboration circles, that enable multiple users to exchange messages, files, tasks, links, etc.

CloseNet supports offline data entry, that will be synchronized automatically with the rest of the users in a loop once the communication is reestablished.

Communications in CloseNet are secure, since they are encrypted with point to point encryption.

We look forward to your feedback!!

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