Robin Chase on Zipcar and her next big idea | Video on TED.com

Robin Chase on Zipcar and her next big idea | Video on TED.com.

I hadn’t visit TED.com for a while, but I’ve had two colleagues talk about two different talks on TED.  So I thought it was time to swing by that part of my bookmark list again and take a gander.

I wish the talks were more recent, but I guess the conference has to have some relevance when it’s held.  So I guess they delay all the videos until well after the conference.

In any case, Robin Chase is the founder of Zipcar.  Zipcar is one of two car sharing businesses in Vancouver.  The Cooperative Auto Network is the other one.

Robin talks about her Zipcar experience and what it’s done.  She also mentions a new venture called, Goloco, which builds on the idea of carsharing and transforms it into ridesharing.  Ridesharing that is arranged through wireless devices where you all arrange one ride for many people.

Her bigger idea in the second half of her talk is to change the country with peer to peer wireless devices that form a mesh network. I’m not familiar with the jargon, so it’s a bit confusing.  The talk is limited to under 15 minutes, so she doesn’t have time to get into what mesh networks really are and how they work. However, the concept looks like it has a lot of potential.  She wants a national system of mesh networks that can be easily set up and built up.  She criticizes existing wireless networks for being closed and proprietary.  I guess it’s how you may use Shell’s EasyPay for gas and MasterCard has PayPass to pay at select stores for food or groceries.  But what if they all worked on one network that everybody used.  If there is one network, then there can be a national interstate mesh network in place so that road pricing and tolls could be collected nationally.

I wish she had more time to talk, though.  The idea sounds exciting, but it needs more fleshing out for the ordinary person to understand better.

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