What Did Amazon Do This Week? - 02-04-2023 [+40 LINKS]
AMAZON ASKS DEVELOPERS TO WALK ON SIDEWALK
Sidewalk is Amazon's free low-bandwidth, long-range network that uses Bluetooth and other protocols to connect devices to the internet, which Amazon announced back in 2019. Think smart lights, trackers etc. Amazon has quietly built a new wireless network without putting up millions of cell towers. Instead, the company uses the Ring and Alexa devices in homes across America. Amazon used to keep Sidewalk all to itself and its partners but now feels the world and its mother should have access to the new platform where anyone can create applications that leverage the network's capabilities. Amazon released free SDKs (here) and hardware development kits this week. Read the full press release here.
Amazon has stated that it will require developers to follow strict guidelines to ensure the security and privacy of user data. Nonetheless, there is always a risk that malicious actors could exploit network vulnerabilities, potentially compromising users' privacy and security.
Stacy Higginbotham, IoT analyst (amongst other things), believes the tech and security side isn't as bad as people first thought; "...the security Amazon has implemented is solid based on my conversations with people who have evaluated the standard. Amazon can’t see what is transmitted over the network. As for the use of consumers’ Wi-Fi networks, I get the concern, but this sort of decentralized infrastructure is a great way to build a network that doesn’t cost much to use. And the internet of things really needs a low-cost LPWAN if we want to get connected devices in more places.”
While you might be forgiven for thinking Amazon has become a charity because it isn’t charging for Sidewalk connectivity, fear not because the only place the data can go is…into Amazon Web Services’ IoT data bucket. So, if you leave Sidewalk on, you’re helping to put more money in AWS’s pockets, possibly lock companies into Amazon and will encourage more people to join the cloud network.
The opening up of Sidewalk to developers was pretty inevitable as Amazon spent a ton getting it together. The move also represents a big step/moment for the evolution of the Internet of Things. Where wi-fi isn't a given, internet connection will be useful for more than just tracking packages. A lot can be done with this technology now, let alone in five or ten years time. How this all plays out in practice is still unknown, but Amazon has created something others can now use to create new opportunities and drive innovation. Importantly (for Amazon, at least), Amazon still holds the keys to what is ok and not ok.
WANT TO INNOVATE LIKE AMAZON? Order your copy of the second volume of ‘Disruptive Technologies’ now!
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to What Did Amazon Do This Week? to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.