Expanding Beyond the Smart Home: Amazon Sidewalk Devices for Industrial and Commercial Applications

07/13/2023 | Sai Bharadwaj Balaji | 3 Min Read

With the recent release of Amazon Sidewalk for developers, LPWAN solutions are extending IoT connectivity beyond the home. Some LPWAN protocols, like Wi-SUN, are open source and standards-based, while others, such as Amazon Sidewalk, are proprietary. Each approach offers distinct advantages that network users can harness depending on their needs.


Wi-SUN vs. Amazon Sidewalk

With Wi-SUN, users can effortlessly extend network range and rapidly scale for more device types with the support of mesh topology. However, deploying a Wi-SUN network requires a substantial investment for border routers, cloud services, and device management. Amazon Sidewalk takes a different approach. The backbone of its network uses native Amazon Web Services (AWS) connectivity and devices that are already active in the field. Notably, it lacks the mesh scalability offered by other solutions.

Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that uses devices like Amazon Echo and Ring security cameras to establish a shared network infrastructure that’s capable of extending beyond the front door. When enabled, Amazon Sidewalk unlocks unique benefits for individual devices and supports other Amazon Sidewalk-enabled devices within the wider community (e.g., assists in locating pets or lost items).

Amazon Sidewalk incorporates a novel sub-GHz solution that extends range by facilitating distributed networks that are akin to cellular networks. The overarching ambition of Amazon Sidewalk is to create a wide-ranging, roaming connectivity network that accommodates numerous low-bandwidth devices. 

By forming a seamlessly interconnected ecosystem, communication is possible even when traditional Wi-Fi networks are out of reach.


Amazon Sidewalk allows smart devices to communicate via wireless protocols such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and 900MHz/sub-GHz wave. These protocols use a maximum of 500MB of internet a month. That said, there are clear benefits for security cameras, smart locks, pet trackers, outdoor lights, and other smart home applications, but there are other applications that can leverage this unique connectivity solution outside the home too. Here, we’ll talk about agriculture, water management, forest fire management, and campus management.


Connectivity for Crop Monitoring in Agriculture

Plant growth can be monitored as a function of soil fertility, water, nutrition content, sunlight, and air quality.

Amazon Sidewalk can provide connectivity for sensors without the need for additional infrastructure or overhead. The native AWS connectivity in the application layer offers an easy path for data from sensors to the cloud for better remote and real-time monitoring. For example, farmers can monitor the growth of their crops through accurate information about size and ripening time. With this information, they can plan out what inventory to sell and what to store. Sensors can also be used to optimize fertilizer and pesticide application, determine watering requirements depending on the soil composition, and detect environmental parameters that could damage valuable or unique crops.


Sensors for Optimizing Water Management

Across industries, optimizing water management results in less waste and more equitable allocation. For example, using sensors, it’s easier to measure and replenish the amount of water in a storage tank. Further, information from sensors can trigger specific actions. For example, with sensors that perform thermodynamic calculations to determine the exact quantity of water needed for cooling, water can be routed to the right location more efficiently. Considering the extensive coverage of the Amazon Sidewalk network, these sensors can be deployed without relying on homeowners or their networks.

Sensor-driven solutions revolutionize allocation and conservation across industries, leveraging the power of Amazon Sidewalk network for widespread implementation


Detection Technology for Forest Fire Management

When strategically positioned in forested areas, Amazon Sidewalk devices can detect temperature changes and alert the nearest fire department before a fire gets out of control. In conjunction, smoke detectors differentiate between high temperatures due to weather and actual fires. Smoke detectors and temperature monitoring devices connect to the Amazon Sidewalk network and communicate via long-range protocols, such as Frequency Shift Keying (FSK), with the fire station and provide real-time alerts.



Real-Time Feedback for Campus Management

A college campus can be made more interactive and vibrant with Amazon Sidewalk in multiple ways. For example, colleges can collect feedback on the condition of the campus (e.g., cleanliness, accessibility) and automatically alert maintenance staff to concerns. Amazon Sidewalk could even notify students and faculty of lighting outages and other unexpected safety concerns automatically, so they can avoid them altogether. As maintenance groups get smaller and are asked to cover more area, sensors indicate which projects need attention and prevent staff from relying on scheduled patrols. Some campuses may choose to implement status buttons in spaces like bathrooms so students can alert maintenance staff of cleanliness concerns. Instead of relying on a university IT network, status buttons could connect to Amazon Sidewalk for minimal setup and onboarding.



Expanding Beyond the Smart Home with Amazon Sidewalk + Silicon Labs

Amazon Sidewalk promises immense flexibility to leverage smart home infrastructure outside of the home. Silicon Labs Integrated Solution for Amazon Sidewalk provides IoT device makers with the most complete, one-stop-shop, wireless development solution for Amazon Sidewalk. It’s designed to simplify the development process, reduce costs, and accelerate time to revenue for Amazon Sidewalk IoT devices.Learn more about Silicon Labs’ certified solution, which includes the Amazon Sidewalk SDK, wireless hardware, security, and development kits and tools.

Sai Bharadwaj Balaji
Sai Bharadwaj Balaji
Product Marketing
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