Tracking technology company Tile will offer a device and experience that works with the upcoming Amazon Sidewalk neighborhood wireless network to help people find lost items, Amazon announced Monday morning. It will be the first third-party device to work with Sidewalk, which is slated to launch later this year.
Amazon also said many of its own Echo smart speakers will be able to double as Sidewalk bridges, providing access to the network when customers opt in to sharing “a small portion” of their internet bandwidth as part of the shared pool of bandwidth that enables the Sidewalk technology.
“For customers who choose to pool their bandwidth with neighbors, we ensure owners of other devices cannot view data sent from your devices,” Amazon said in its post this morning.
Sidewalk is also built with maximum upload limits and bandwidth caps to preserve internet bandwidth for Sidewalk Bridge customers. Customers can also choose to turn off network support on Sidewalk Bridges without impacting the original functionality of the device.”
In a new white paper describing Sidewalk’s privacy and security protocols, the company goes into more detail on network sharing: “The maximum bandwidth of a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server is 80Kbps, which is about 1/40th of the bandwidth used to stream a typical high definition video. Today, total monthly data used by Sidewalk enabled devices, per customer, is capped at 500MB, which is equivalent to streaming about 10 minutes of high definition video.”
The news comes in advance of a virtual event Thursday where Amazon is expected to unveil a new lineup of Echo and Alexa devices.
Amazon announced the Sidewalk plan at the same event a year ago. The initiative will create secure networks that leverage low-bandwidth, 900 MHz wireless spectrum to provide connectivity to small Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart lights, weather stations, and sensors in places such as mailboxes and gardens.
“It’s a completely new way of thinking about intermediate-range wireless,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told reporters at the time. “There are a lot of things where Bluetooth is way too short-range, WiFi is way too high power, and so to have something that’s still low-power, but that has much longer range is really a gap in the marketplace. … People don’t even realize yet how important that intermediate range is going to be.”
Bezos said at the time that third-party device support would be key to Sidewalk. In the meantime, the company is developing its own devices, as well. Amazon’s Ring subsidiary plans a device called Ring Fetch that attaches to a dog’s collar and lets the owner know if the pet strays beyond a specified perimeter beyond the house.
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