Introducing participatory fairness in emergency communication can support self-organization for survival

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Abstract

Participatory resilience of disaster-struck communities requires reliable communication for self-organized rescue, as conventional communication infrastructure is damaged. Disasters often lead to blackouts preventing citizens from charging their phones, leading to disparity in battery charges and a digital divide in communication opportunities. We propose a value-based emergency communication system based on participatory fairness, ensuring equal communication opportunities for all, regardless of inequality in battery charge. The proposed infrastructure-less emergency communication network automatically and dynamically (i) assigns high-battery phones as hubs, (ii) adapts the topology to changing battery charges, and (iii) self-organizes to remain robust and reliable when links fail or phones leave the network. The novelty of the proposed mobile protocol compared to mesh communication networks is demonstrated by comparative agent-based simulations. An evaluation using the Gini coefficient demonstrates that our network design results in fairer participation of all devices and a longer network lifetime, benefiting the community and its participants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7209
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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