Linux Foundation Makes Open Source Technology Available for Emergency Communications Networks

The Linux Foundation is making new open source technology available to developers around the world to help build emergency communications networks that will foster connectivity between first responders and civilians during or after natural disasters.

The Project Owl IoT device firmware is a cloud-based analytics tool that aims to help facilitate organization, whereabouts, and logistics (OWL) for disaster response. The open governance model is expected to enable a global network of developers to accelerate the development of the mesh networks. The firmware can quickly turn a cheap wireless device into a ‘DuckLink’ – a mesh network node capable of connecting to any other Ducks physically around it. With Project OWL, a central portal connects to the solar- and battery-powered water resistant DuckLinks in the field to generate a local area network (LAN) using a Wi-Fi captive portal powered by low frequency long-range radio (LoRa) connectivity.

First responders would be able to use analytics and data sources to build a dashboard and formulate an action plan in the case of a disaster where infrastructure is degraded or non-existent.

“Becoming part of the Linux Foundation community is a huge boost in accelerating our goal to better prepare communities and mitigate impact when hurricanes, floods or earthquakes strike,” said Bryan Knouse, co-founder of Project Owl. “We want to challenge developers to build mesh network nodes for global emergency communications networks leveraging our newly open-sourced IoT firmware.”

“Disaster relief solutions often mean life or death within impacted communities,” explained Michael Dolan, vice president of strategic programs at the Linux Foundation. “The ability to build solutions from open source technologies that communities, integrators and disaster relief organizations can all contribute to helps the world more efficiently apply technical resources without having to recreate a technology stack every time.”