At its annual hardware event in Seattle, Amazon today announced Sidewalk, a new low-bandwidth, long-distance wireless protocol the company is developing to connect all of the IoT devices in and around your house.
Amazon argues that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi don’t have enough range, while 5G takes too much power and is too complex.
“We came up with something that we call Amazon Sidewalk,” Amazon’s device chief Dave Limp said at the event today. “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.
The details here remain a bit vague, but Amazon says that you may be able to use Sidewalk to connect to devices that can be up to a mile away, depending on how the base station and devices are positioned.
Amazon already sent out 700 test devices to households in LA to test the access points — and once you have a lot of access points, you create a network with some pretty broad coverage.
Amazon says it’ll publish the protocol so that other device makers can also integrate it into their devices.
The first product that uses Sidewalk? A dog tag, so that you’ll hopefully see fewer lost dogs on your local Nextdoor in the near future, because if your dog now leaves the perimeter, you’ll get an alert. This new tag, the Ring Fetch, will launch next year.