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A shared wireless network: Amazon and Apple create it with our devices


What is Amazon Sidewalk? A shared network that helps devices perform better. Operated by Amazon free of charge for customers, Sidewalk can simplify the setup of new devices, extend the range of low-bandwidth trackers with the function of finding missing pets or valuables, and allow devices to stay online even if they are found. out of wireless range. In short, a Sidewalk Bridge uses about 1/40 of the bandwidth compared to streaming a normal high definition video and the main function it has is to facilitate the connection of all devices. Especially of the Echo and Ring devices, part of the Amazon ecosystem that has recently expanded the Sidewalk network and the Tiles, or the trackers that can also be managed via Alexa to find, for example, the keys lost in the house. Even more in detail, Amazon and, as we’ll see below, Apple, are turning the devices we own into small portable wifi hotspots that can connect other devices and sensors to the Internet. These are not just personal mini wireless hubs but they have the same function, namely that of extending the connection and facilitating it to other devices and other people, even without knowing it. Large corporations are essentially developing technologies that support and somehow bypass traditional wireless networks by relying on their customers’ devices. Amazon’s recent announcement to expand its Sidewalk network goes precisely in this direction, I allow their Echo and Alexa devices to communicate on the Sidewalk network via bluetooth and the Ring app: smart devices send small bits of data securely from any wireless connection available but also integrate wifi networks to reduce any communication problems. An announcement that follows the introduction of Apple’s AirTag. In this case, these are coin-sized trackers that can help locate lost items. AirTags are bluetooth trackers that can be put on or hooked to keys or wallet, but also to suitcase or dog collar to identify their position and find them in case of theft or loss. AirTag works closely with Apple’s Dov’è app, recently also enabled for third-party accessories, developed precisely to hook objects via the network generated by all the devices of the Apple ecosystem that they make available, encrypted and anonymous, its low energy consumption bluetooth within a radius of just under 100 meters to translate its position within a map. Beyond the possible uses that are not necessarily legal and moral that can be set up through the trackers, uses to which Apple responded by including a not yet fully convincing anti-stalking system among the functions, the general theme that advances is undoubtedly that of wireless networks shared through their devices. Smart locks, for example, will soon take advantage of the Amazon Sidewalk to open and close the house even without being within the range of the smartphone’s bluetooth: through the Ring app you will be able to see and talk to anyone in front of the door and manage the flow into the house. But also to listen without his knowledge, for example. The shared fragments of our bandwidth offer an exchange and transmission ground for interesting functions and uses, but they also leave open the question of a shared fragility of our information.

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