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Egyptian Outage Calls For Rapid Innovation

Posted by Patrick Snyder
Patrick Snyder
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on Tuesday, 01 February 2011 in MyBlog


Egypt has pulled the plug. This topic has been overtaking our news feeds this past week. It's time we take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of this situation.


In fear that social networking will allow protestors the opportunity to further organize their anti-government demonstration, the Egyptian government has ordered all internet services to shut down.


ISP services have disabled all wired communications. As of yesterday morning the final ISP service went down. What is surprisingly scary is how quickly these services can be shut down by an ISP. In a matter of minutes these companies can alter national router hub configurations and blackout the entire country. 


Will there be any light at the end of this dark tunnel? I guess you could assume no internet service, no internet security breaches, but then again, you can't. 


Without internet connectivity tech workers in Egypt are left with nearly nothing to do (except for a game or two of solitaire). Imagine if General Motors halted their automobile manufacturing, no cars, no work. Many companies that outsource to Egypt are also feeling the tension from the outage. Microsoft is threatening to pull out many of its services that they rely on Egypt's tech community to maintain. Egypt is slowly loosing its grip on the technology forefront. Not to mention the political unrest it is causing with many foreign policy leaders.


In making the best out of a bad situation, we may see some good come out of this in the world of technology innovation.


With the mobile phone towers kicking back on, Google has had the opportunity to push its voice services towards a new purpose. Tweet by voice, possible thanks to Google's recent purchase of the SayNow service. In a service which Google has "hacked" together, users are able to leave voicemails on designated international "speek-to-tweet" hotlines. These voicemails will then be posted to twitter with an #egypt tag. Quite the innovation considering it took Google only a few days to implement.


Users are also going to the sky for wireless connectivity. Ad-hoc networks are cropping up all over the country as users attempt any means of staying connected to each other. 


Though the events of the past week have had many devastating effects they are also striking up a surprising amount of innovation and adaptation in the technology world. This abrupt change has made voice communication and mobile networking a top priority. This could potentially push these two concepts to a whole new level never before seen by our generation.


Even an internet outage cannot stop the advancement of technology. Desperate times call for desperate measures.


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