- Amazon Sidewalk plans to power connectivity via Echo and Ring devices.
Amazon.com, an American multinational, is working towards launching an impressive networking and location system later in the year. The company plans to call it Amazon Sidewalk.
The idea behind
The Sidewalk is designed to connect smart home devices and other Amazon products with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), facilitating connection beyond the range of standard Wi-Fi networks.
In development to work at the scale of a neighborhood, Sidewalk would transform devices such as smart floodlights and home assistants into network bridges, passing along security developments and commands received from a central Wi-Fi hub.
Apart from transmitting software, the signals permit Sidewalk to triangulate a device’s approximate location based on its contacts with other Sidewalk enabled devices.
The system is planned to be built into Echo, and Tile joins the project as the third-party pilot platform to support the system. Additionally, at a later stage, Amazon intends to add Ring cameras to the network and will directly notify users when Sidewalk is available for use.
The complete list of devices compatible with Sidewalk is available on the project landing page of the company.
Just as a mesh network, the addition of devices will expand the Sidewalk’s range and functionality. Therefore, Amazon needs to integrate Sidewalk into many home devices. Just like how Amazon positively displays it on the landing page, “when more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger.”
Amazon primarily revealed plans for Sidewalk last year, but the company gave out detailed information in a blog post and whitepaper published on September 21, 2020. As per the latest blog post, Sidewalk will be leveraged “to simplify new device setup, extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices and help devices stay online and up-to-date even if they are outside the range of home Wi-Fi.”
However, until now, the location-tracking functionality is expected to be central to Sidewalk’s success, separating it from conventional Wi-Fi mesh systems by Google and Eero.
Earlier, Amazon demonstrated Sidewalk with Ring Fetch devices that clip to a pet’s collar to track them, effectively creating a geofence that alerts the pet owner when the pet tries to stray outside the designated area.
Additionally, the tech giant has associated several privacy features that are leveraged to safeguard unauthorized users from collecting data. In short, if a user has an Echo on the Sidewalk network, they will not know what other devices are pinging it, and the person using Sidewalk-connected Tile will not have an idea about the device they are connected to. Amazon also keeps the signals encrypted to restrict intermediaries collect any data in transit.
Amazon is taking active participation in soliciting third-party partners in the Sidewalk project. To showcase the usefulness of Sidewalk, Amazon has got into a partnership with the American Red Cross to check if the system is useful to track blood collection supplies between donation sites and distribution centers.