Back in my days as the Creative Director at Cunning New York we were asked by the lovely people at PSFK to come up with an idea for UNICEF's 10 Challenges and PSFK's Future of Health Report.
I'd forgotten all about it until I was searching about the Internet for cool pigeon stories ( I like pigeons).
It struck me, the idea is still a good one and it deserves a second airing. Here it is:
Carrier Pigeon Network
Communication issues constitute 50% of UNICEF’s 10 Challenges. Improve communication and the other challenges will be easier to overcome.
Therefore, we develop a network of carrier pigeons to carry information, data and medicine across developing nations.
Pigeons are a fast, cheap, and sustainable way of transmitting information and small payloads over long distances.
In 2009, a race was held in Durban, South Africa, between a carrier pigeon and an ADSL line to see which would transmit 4GB of data faster. The pigeon won.
A pleasant side effect of using pigeons for information relay is that pigeon waste makes excellent fertilizer. It rates higher than other fowl at 4.2% nitrogen, 3% phosphorous, and 1.4% potassium.
Proof of Concept:
Carrier pigeons were used in the eastern Indian state of Orissa until recently to transmit daily communications between police stations. Orissa has about 400 police stations covering thousands of kilometers of remote territory.
Carrier pigeons were also used en masse by the Roman Empire, soldiers in the American Civil war, and by the French in World War I, who used 30,000 of them.
In South Africa, carrier pigeon faster than broadband. ZDNET. September 10, 2009. http://bit.ly/fastpigeons
The hallowed history of the carrier pigeon. NYTimes. January 30, 2004.http://nyti.ms/pigeonhistory
Indian Pigeons Lose Out To Email. BBC. March 26, 2002.http://bit.ly/pigeonsindia
Original PSFK post here.