Amazon is hoping to take over standardisation for communication between smart homes and smart devices with Sidewalk – a new wireless standard developed specifically for IoT devices. It expects to replace Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as the preferred wireless communication standards. The company said that using wireless standards such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have limited range.

The technology: Sidewalk uses the 900 MHz spectrum, and Amazon claims that it can increase the connection range of smart devices by more than a kilometre. According to Amazon, this is good enough for using smart devices from anywhere in your home, and even in dead-spots where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can’t reach.

Why this matters: As IoT technology becomes more sophisticated and widespread, we’ll see a slew of smart devices that talk to each other. In the absence of a dedicated standardised communication protocol between them, developers of these devices would end up using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Amazon might get first-mover advantage with Sidewalk, and given its reach, might end up establishing a communication protocol as widespread and popular as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Is Sidewalk available to use? Amazon said that it has already successfully tested Sidewalk across Los Angeles, but didn’t specify when it would be available for public use, according to Reuters.

Other announcements: Apart from making a bid to take over wireless communication protocol, Amazon also announced Echo Buds. Consider this as Amazon’s answer to Apple’s popular Air Pods.

  • The company also announced Echo Frames – a pair of smart glasses that allow you to talk to Alexa and hear her replies – all handsfree. You can also use these smart glasses to listen to audio.
  • Amazon announced several new additions to its Echo speakers lineup – including a new Echo Dot with a digital clock, a new Echo Studio to compete with Google Home and Apple Homepod and the third generation Amazon Echo.