Immediately following Hurricane Sandy, communications became limited when power and cell towers went out. In the event of another freak weather event, the company goTenna is hoping to reduce a lack of communication for small businesses and with the help of a city grant, they’re able to provide connectivity devices for free.
Realizing the communication challenges after Sandy, Brooklyn siblings Daniela and Jorge Perdomo were inspired to create a solution. “We started goTenna in 2012, in part, due to our experience during Sandy when 25 percent of people lost service for days and weeks even after the storm, with one of the hardest hit areas being the Rockaways. It seemed silly that we have a communication network that fails when we need it most. This led us to investigate how we could help people create essential connectivity using the phones they already have on them, no matter what’s happening,” Daniela Perdomo said.
The Perdomo’s started to develop a device that pairs with cell phones and consists of an antenna, a rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery, micro-USB connector, and a flash memory that can store hundreds of messages. The goTenna devices are able to generate their own signals, allowing people to trade encrypted text messages with other goTenna users. They work regardless of whether a cell signal or WiFi is available. By March 2013, they had come up with a prototype and launched their first product available to consumers in summer 2014.
In 2015, goTenna became one of 11 companies to win a RISE: NYC grant through the New York City Economic Development Company to help businesses become more prepared and resilient in the event of future extreme weather occurrences. With the grant going into effect this year, goTenna is able to distribute 20,0000 goTenna Mesh devices to NYC small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy at absolutely no cost to the business. GoTenna Mesh is a device that enables text and GPS on your smartphone, while off the grid. GoTenna recently had crewmembers on the ground, canvassing the area to provide information about this product and opportunity.
“This is a very bottom-up, people-powered, cost-effective way to provide connectivity to small businesses so they can stay connected with employees and community members. I’ll never forget during community meetings in Queens and Brooklyn, I kept hearing how if there had been an effective way of communicating, the elderly or sick would not have been forgotten in high-rise towers. This is not just about providing businesses connectivity, but providing essential communication among communities so you can allocate proper resources and emergency services more effectively,” Perdomo said. “We were inspired by Sandy to develop this product and hopefully we can help more than 20,000 people in the city have communication resiliency in the event of another Sandy.”
GoTenna is also available to purchase for everyday consumers. Check out gotenna.com for more information.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS