Move over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi – Amazon reveals development of long-range wireless alternative for IoT devices
Amazon is seeking to solve the short-range problem associated with traditional wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 5G.
Alongside the announcement of an updated and expanded hardware range of smart speakers, Amazon also revealed it is developing a new low-bandwidth, long-distance wireless protocol called Sidewalk that will connect all IoT devices, both inside and outside the house.
The technology will be incorporated in the new Amazon Fetch product for dogs, which will launch next year.
There is not a lot of detail about Sidewalk at the moment, but it will apparently operate up to a mile, depending on the placement of the receiver and basestation.
According to Reuters, Amazon is hoping this technology will help in the adoption of smart devices.
The e-commerce giant apparently decided to develop the tech, as it felt that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi don’t have enough range and use too much power, while 5G is too complex.
“We came up with something that we call Amazon Sidewalk,” Amazon’s device chief Dave Limp was quoted as saying at the Amazon launch event. “Amazon Sidewalk is a brand new low-bandwidth network that uses the already existing free over-the-air 900 megahertz spectrum.”
“We think it will be great for keeping track of things, keeping things up to date – but first and foremost, it will extend in the distance at which you can control these kinds of simple, low-cost, easy-to-use devices,” said Limp.
The company apparently sees Sidewalk’s use in devices as varied as garden water sensors and mailboxes that would alert the owner to new mail.
And Amazon is already testing the technology, after it already sent out 700 test devices to households in LA to test the access points.
“People don’t even realize yet how important that intermediate range is going to be, for things like lights in your yard, controlling your lights on your sidewalk in the street,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said about Sidewalk’s range at Amazon’s annual Alexa devices launch in Seattle.
The e-commerce giant also said it plans to publish the new protocol so developers can use it for new products.
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