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The US and global markets for wireless communications drive prosperity and human progress. These markets are at an inflection point as the supplies of spectrum access, computing resources, and backhaul infrastructure don’t line up with rising consumer demand. The market needs, and OmniMesh provides, a solution for efficient, cost-effective sharing on a decentralized peer-to-peer platform.

For more than a century, the heavily regulated U.S. market for spectrum access has driven emergence, adoption, and monetization of new technologies. In general, the evolution has allocated spectrum resources to their highest-value uses, and created an abundance of “public goods” that increase capitalism opportunities and consumer welfare. But these evolutions have gone only as fast as regulatory advancements have allowed.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the novelty of transmitting speech by radio waves turned into a market for broadcast radio that had never before existed. Regulators adopted a “mother-may-I” approach to allocating spectrum among government agencies and a chosen few commercial monopolies. This created a vast, exponentially expanding, centralized market for one-way wireless communication, hardware sales, and advertising.

By the 1920s inventors had devised and patented the wireless transmission of moving images but it wasn’t until 1941 that the U.S. industry and government agreed on standards. This unlocked a vast, exponentially expanding market which again used spectrum for one-way wireless transmission over a centralized network.

The concept of multi-channel, multipath wireless telephony has been around since the rise of radio—but it took until 1973 for Motorola to develop a prototype of the world’s first commercial cell phone, until the 1980s for the emergence of wireless telephony spectrum standards, until the 1990s for global standards to unlock widespread adoption, and from the 2000s to the present for the evolution of 3G, 4G, and 5G which fired wireless phones being profitably adopted by more than 5 billion people. Spectrum allocation schemes enable these devices to move data up to a central tower, server or cloud for processing, then back to the edge for what is essentially still two-way communication across a centralized network.

What will happen next, when the market demands not two-way communication, but many-way communication? What will happen when 50 billion new IoT devices hit the market, and traffic to the tower gets so congested that spectrum highways break down? For all the amazing use cases we currently imagine—drones, self-driving cars, zero-latency public safety applications, real-time ultra-high-quality interactive video for telemedicine or entertainment—the technology already exists, but equitable markets and opportunities for people to benefit have yet to emerge.

What’s missing are uncongested supplies of spectrum and backhaul to carry all that new machine-to-machine traffic among edge devices and between the edge and the cloud. What’s missing is a platform solution that gives all these devices abundant, cost-effective access to useful frequencies and computing resources in a truly decentralized, peer-to-peer, policy-adherent network.

OmniMesh’s vision is to build that platform beyond the edge of today’s networks—right out among the current and future consumer and industrial devices. The OmniMesh platform is a market for buying, selling, and sublicensing wireless resources at the true edge, using low-cost commodity hardware including software-defined agile spectrum radios. An OmniMesh-powered provider can deliver any connected service possible, at any level of latency and fault tolerance that service requires. OmniMesh creates new economic incentives to fire this new market with a blockchain-fired tracking and audit engine.

So instead of the current market’s glide path creating technology haves and have-nots, with “land-grab” hoarding of spectrum at exorbitant costs, providers and consumers will get a new, more efficient, more equitable marketplace. Taking a use case like industrial IoT applications, the OmniMesh approach facilitates a much higher density of networked devices; greater network fault-tolerance; and economic incentives for network providers to charge rates maximize access and transaction volume while still making a healthy profit.