Ever wondered what happened to your unused data on your mobile contract every month? Well now it can finally stop going to waste.
Aloha Open Wi-Fi has just been launched in the UK, allowing users to surf the web for free or get paid for sharing their unused mobile data. With 100,000 registered users of the app already, Aloha, run by a free downloadable app, is set to revolutionise the way we use mobile data, with a global roll out planned over the next few years.
How does the whole concept work?
Smartphone users share unused data by creating a barrier-free ‘host hotspot’ with people nearby in exchange for payment. By activating the app for a few minutes each day, hosts will be rewarded with Aloha payment (Aloha bucks) which they can spend in local cafes, restaurants and businesses, or by using the embedded exchange system they can exchange the ‘Aloha Bucks’ for £, $, €, Bitcoin and other leading currencies.
In the near future, they will also be able to spend their Aloha Bucks on the Aloha Marketplace which will host some of the world’s top retailers such as Amazon, ASOS and Skyscanner. Aloha app users simply need to open the app, where they can access free Wi-Fi from Aloha hosts, with no passwords, no cost, and no barriers.
CEO of Aloha, Martin Regan, explains: ‘Globally, 3.5 billion people carry smartphones, yet on a daily basis 76% of us find ourselves in the position where we cannot get online due to reasons such as no public Wi-Fi, unknown passwords, or we have just run out of credit.
The team at Aloha app assures us that they followed an intensive research period where 18-35-year old’s took part in a series of online market surveys and live focus groups. The results revealed the need for Aloha, with 100% stating they would use the app and 78% stating they would use it to trade and learn about crypto trading. When asked to describe what they liked about the data sharing platform, 65% commented that they liked the rewards and the fact they could earn money from the app.
Martin continued: ’Conversely, 67% of smartphone users do not use all of the data allocated to them each month. They pay for it, but do not use it. Aloha is the solution to both problems; the app allows smartphone users to share their unused data in exchange for payment. The data is shared to create a peer-to-peer, free to access Wi-Fi hotspot that is available for everyone that needs it, so that no one will ever be denied access to the web again.’
The system essentially works by creating a new and independent WiFi network, that enables approved Aloha guest users (WiFi Guests) to utilise the data that the host has decided to share, to surf the web, check their emails etc. The Aloha app, as with any other, App works in conjunction with the manufacturers security and has been approved by both Android and Apple.
What about the matter of security?
If you’re like me, you’ll no doubt be reading this part wondering a.) why it’s never been done before and b.) wondering milli-seconds later whether or not it’s secure and safe.
When challenged, Jorge Rodruiguez, Head of Aloha Security said: ‘Aloha has been certified as secure thanks to vigorous penetration tests and code revision to avoid possible hacking or bugs. Both the infrastructure and the application part of the project are considered safe and are tested on an ongoing basis.’
Businesses and restaurants can also benefit from the app, by installing an Aloha Hotspot Router and earning Aloha Bucks from giving guests free Wi-Fi and accepting Bucks as payment.
Businesses can then spend Aloha Bucks as users can, or use them to attract new customers by sending targeted adverts to the local Aloha Community.
The latest addition to Aloha’s innovative use of technology is ‘Walk About’ using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) which has been launched in Beta on IOS. This feature will share information about nearby Hotspots Hosts to other users. By using BLE technology, an Aloha app user that needs to access Wi-Fi, or is ready to share Wi-Fi, can leave the Aloha app running in the background while on the move.
The app will be able to tell fellow app users about other nearby Aloha Hotspot hosts and other available Wi-Fi hotspots. All of this is done without using Wi-Fi, or any internet connection.
To support its expansion, Aloha is currently raising funds on Seedrs and has just reached its £300,000 target this month.
Their next round of investment is to drive Aloha’s scale-up, particularly focusing on UK expansion. The next phase will focus on an international roll out program across North America, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
Business Matters is currently waiting to hear back from Aloha on how many ‘bucks’ per MB/GB users earn. We will report back when we find out …