Amazon Sidewalk Can Track Your Runaway Dog and Potentially Much More
Amazon announced a new network named Sidewalk at its annual product last week. Its purpose is to provide customers with an accessible internet connection outside of their home, even in areas where WiFi and Bluetooth are unreachable. On their dayone blog, Amazon described the initiative as:
a new long-term effort to greatly extend the working range of low-bandwidth, low-power, smart lights, sensors, and other low-cost devices customers install at the edge of their home network
The first product launched with Sidewalk capabilities is a safety device for pets called Fetch. The tracking device clips to a pet’s collar which allows the owners to track in real time the pet’s location in case they get lost or have run off. The wearable will be part of Ring, Amazon’s Smart Security product line, allowing users to locate their animal using the Ring app on their mobile phone, or from an Alexa-enabled device.
As of now there is no official release date for Sidewalk or Fetch, but Amazon confirmed that 700 Amazon employees in Los Angeles have completed a test deployment. Those interested in Fetch can sign up for announcements on Ring’s website, and those interested in Sidewalk alerts can sign up here.
How Amazon is “bridging the connectivity gaps around our homes”
To achieve an extended network Amazon used the 900MHz spectrum, commonly found in digital pagers and emergency radios, to provide a signal up to one mile from a hub. A broader connection will allow homeowners to link all of their smart home devices, inside and outside, even in places their home Wi-Fi can’t reach. As an example of the Sidewalk potential, Amazon explained that customers will eventually be able to receive notifications when their mail has been delivered or when their garden needs to be watered via smart sensor. No WiFi extenders necessary. Amazon reiterated in their blog that Sidewalk is low-cost and easy to setup. One could assume this means there will be no monthly fees associated with the only cost being the devices themselves.
Sidewalk opens the door for new Amazon devices that support such a long-range network. In an effort to expand the variety of devices, Amazon says it will publish protocols for third parties that want to develop devices that can utilize Sidewalk’s communication capabilities.