If you have ever undertaken a wilderness trip, be it cycling or trekking and that too in a group, you may have always felt the need for a reliable communication scene between your group/ fellow travelers. At GoMissing we always try to have a good system of communication between all team members. Since most times it is based on cellular networks, we face challenges especially in places like Manali-Leh route. We resort to rudimentary methods to keep tabs in such places as its not a great idea to go deep into zones without a connection (read about LOS and other tips). We have often wondered about alternative options. Aside walkie-talkies and cellular networks, now there is something fabulous!
In this blog, Gaurav Rohatgi, Chief Marketing Officer, GoMissing unveils a fabulous product called goTenna!
Before you begin to read more about the product, consider these first.
Walkie-talkies are bulky and cumbersome to charge and care for. You need to carry a GPS unit separately to keep a track log since your IOS or android powered device will probably never have an offline map system.
Cellular Service can be erratic or may vanish completely.
This is where comes goTenna!
So the good folks at a funky new startup based in Brooklyn US paired the one thing which you will always have – your ubiquitous cell phone with a low powered antenna and bang, you have the GOTENNA!
GoTenna creates a low-frequency radio wave network via its IOS/Android app using a device which looks like a candybar. This device connects to your phone via Blue tooth. It generates its own signal and automatically coordinates with other units within range. It does all the heavy-lifting, so you can chat 1-to-1, with a group, or even broadcast openly to anyone nearby.
It is handy, portable, rugged and has a decent range. You can connect in 2 km range in skyscraper-filled urban areas and as much as 16 km range in outdoor situations like trekking, camping/Skiing or cycling. (All those gearing up for 545 Km of Manali-Leh MTB Expedition, make note!)
Plus the App has an awesome offline map system that can utilize the GPS chip in your cellphone to record and even send your location to your friend carrying a GOTENNA.
Be Adventure Ready: Locate your Group Members. If your group gets staggered and there are a few people running late, you can connect (send message, share location) without ever needing to connect to a Cellphone network or Wifi based private networks.
Emergencies: From wilderness activities to disaster zone, natural calamity affected areas, GOTENNA has numerous applications. A product like this may have helped citizens during Chennai floods where we saw breakdown of grid and infrastructure that left hundreds of people stranded and looking for help.
Events: At the recently concluded Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, the cellphone towers got choked due to the immense volume of phone calls people were making from the site. It took people hours to find their buddies with whom they had carpooled to come to the venue. A device like this would have been great!
Traveling Abroad? Take goTenna with you: Women want to shop, men want to go sightseeing. Using goTenna could be a useful and free alternative to expensive pre-paid mobile connections.
Where to buy GOTENNA?
Currently Gotenna is available for purchase only in the US but they are eager to expand internationally.
A word of caution
Since the device sends and receives text messages in an encrypted format, it can be a major headache for security agencies and may not be allowed in some sensitive zones or a permission may be needed for the frequency bands it operates in. Check those aspects before using the device. Also check the FAQs mentioned on goTenna site for technical information.
The product really appealed to all the Outdoor Adventurers at GoMissing.
What do you think of it? We would love to hear your views too.
About the Author
Gaurav Rohatgi, an MBA in Marketing from Symbiosis figured out early that comfy careers are way too drab and life is better in the mountains! An avid endurance cyclist and an MTB rider, he can be found carving out exciting MTB tracks and planning crazy trips. When he isn’t doing that, he is usually in the office executing equally crazy marketing plans.
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