INTERNATIONAL – Amazon.com said on Wednesday that it was developing a longer-range equivalent to Bluetooth and WiFi wireless protocols that the largest US online retailer hopes third parties will eventually use in smart devices.
The Amazon Sidewalk, announced alongside a new range of Echo speakers and a multilingual mode for its Alexa virtual assistant, underscores the firm’s growth expectations for the internet of things (IoT) – where devices and appliances are controlled over networks.
The company sees Sidewalk’s use in devices as varied as garden water sensors and mailboxes that would alert the owner to new mail.
Sidewalk uses the low bandwidth 900 megahertz spectrum to extend the distance at which IoT devices can be controlled, and requires less power than needed for WiFi, Amazon said.
“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,” Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said about Sidewalk’s range at Amazon’s annual Alexa devices launch in Seattle.