Apple and Amazon have drawn battle lines for the smart home, with their products Wideband and Sidewalk.
The Internet of Things technology is impacting the real estate industry in a big way.
This is because this new technology handles a large number of devices including lighting systems and thermostats as well as electrical outlets and plumbing – all of which can be connected and controlled with the help of the Internet.
It also allows for things like predictive maintenance along with informed analytics as well as improved energy efficiency, possibly providing an easier pathway for property managers to manage maintenance.
Although most homes today use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, these options have limitations.
For example, when we connect these ‘smart’ devices in our homes, everything works, but the second you step out the front door the connection is lost.
Both Sidewalk and Wideband attempt to address this issue.
Amazon Sidewalk makes use of a non-licensed spectrum in the nine hundred MHz band which is normally used for amateur radio transmissions.
The concept of connecting devices with 900 MHz is not new and has been around for many long years. It has, over the years, proven to be reliable and secure for long-range devices such as the radios used by emergency services.
This protocol has also been used for decades for digital pagers which doctors carry with them on-call.
The advantage of this wireless spectrum is it delivers reliable low bandwidth along with connectivity over longer distances including up to a mile away (compared to bluetooth and Wi-Fi).
With Sidewalk, it is now possible to install Sidewalk sensors in and around modern homes to keep their inhabitants informed about what is happening around them.
A great example of this is something like Ring Fetch – a connected dog collar which would let you know where Fido is at any point in time.
In a consumer sense, Sidewalk could notify you when you’ve got mail in your letterbox. It could similarly tell you when your garden needs watering because a sensor has sent you a message telling you it’s too dry.
What’s Apple up to?
Apple is also experimenting with Ultra-wideband signal that it hopes will enable it to get into modern smart homes and help users understand the location of absolutely everything, along with giving you tighter control over all your software and services on your iPhone.
With the latest U1 chip installed on Apple 11 iPhones, it is possible to take a picture by simply pointing at a subject.
The U (Ultra-wideband) technology is powering new location tracking features on smartphones that will allow an Apple 11 iPhone to locate as well as talk to other U1 devices more accurately, and at longer distances.
The battle lines have been drawn
So both Amazon and Apple are working on Ultra-wideband using different frequencies, so you can safely say the battle for the smart home is well and truly in progress, and you can safely assume that Echo and iHome won’t be talking to each other any time soon.
But they will know exactly where everything you own is, how old it is, whether or not it needs maintenance or replacing, and how long it might last.
Watch this space.