Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Don't rely too much on WhatsApp for important situations

I read today that some groups are going to make use of mobile devices apps such as WhatsApp, Tango and Skype to communicate ground conditions to the main control station. I wonder if they thought of the strength of their data connection to the Internet in that area, especially when there are huge crowds in that area.

If you have a situation where you have thousands of people in that area all at the same time, most probably the mobile base stations in that area will be overloaded and you will not be able to get a good and reliable connection to the internet from your mobile device. That will mean delay in communication back to the main control station if any situations occur at the ground. Sometimes you may not even get a data connection. You can see examples of this when you go to a very crowded shopping mall. You'll find that your mobile device signal indicates that its full strength, but your actual data connection is very slow.

I hope that they have a backup plan because the problem with mobile devices is that the performance is very reliant on the location, and even the weather. This problem also does not restrict to 3G/Edge connection. WiFi also has this issue.

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