Amazon Sidewalk paves the way for more connected communities
Ryan Ciovacco Sep 21, 2020
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How we’re making devices work better today and creating new opportunities for tomorrow

Last fall, we first announced our vision for Amazon Sidewalk, a neighborhood network designed to help customer devices work better both at home and beyond the front door. Operated by Amazon at no charge to customers, Amazon Sidewalk uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the 900 MHz spectrum and other frequencies to simplify new device setup, extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices and help devices stay online and up-to-date even if they are outside the range of home wifi.

As we prepare to launch Amazon Sidewalk later this year, we’re announcing several new steps towards realizing our vision for customers and developers. We’re teaming up with leading IoT silicon companies, we’re releasing details on the privacy and security protections of Sidewalk, we’re supporting additional protocols for Sidewalk and we’re embarking on a new proof-of-concept with American Red Cross to demonstrate the possibilities of Sidewalk.

Echo and Tile Join Sidewalk

After Amazon Sidewalk launches, there will be two types of devices operating on the network: Sidewalk Bridges and Sidewalk-enabled devices. Sidewalk Bridges, including select Ring Floodlight Cams and Ring Spotlight Cams, are devices that provide connections to Amazon Sidewalk. Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as smart lights at the end of your driveway, connect to Sidewalk Bridges to access the network.

Today we are announcing new additions to both categories of Sidewalk devices. First, many Echo devices will support Amazon Sidewalk beginning later this year. This means Echo customers with eligible devices, including the all-new Echo and Echo Show 10, will be able to use Echo as a Bluetooth Sidewalk Bridge to help compatible devices automatically connect or reconnect to their router, set up new Echo devices, or locate items connected to Sidewalk. We’re also excited to welcome Tile to Sidewalk later this year. Tile will offer the first third-party Sidewalk-enabled device and experience to help customers find their keys, their wallet or other things they care about using Sidewalk.

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Image courtesy of Tile.

Privacy and Security DNA

Preserving customer privacy and security is foundational to how we’ve built Amazon Sidewalk. We want to assure customers that their data is safe and in their control when sharing their bandwidth or when their devices connect to Sidewalk. And we want device manufacturers to have the assurance that the devices they create stay secure and up-to-date when connected to Sidewalk. Sidewalk protections include:

  • We’ve designed Amazon Sidewalk with three layers of encryption to secure data traveling on Sidewalk.
  • We require the same encryption standards for all third-party applications on Sidewalk as well, to prevent unauthorized access to the contents of packets.
  • We’ve designed Sidewalk to prevent customers with Sidewalk Bridges from viewing the data from other customers’ Sidewalk-enabled devices. Similarly, Sidewalk-enabled device owners do not have access to Sidewalk Bridge information.
  • We use one-way hashing keys, cryptographic algorithms and rotating device IDs to dissociate personal data from a Sidewalk-enabled device.
  • We set maximum upload limits and bandwidth caps to preserve internet bandwidth for Sidewalk Bridge customers.
  • And we provide a feature setting so that customers who own a Sidewalk Bridge can disable Amazon Sidewalk on their account at any time.

For more information on how we've designed Amazon Sidewalk to keep customer information private and secure, review our Amazon Privacy and Security Whitepaper.

New IoT Chipsets, More Supported Protocols

With privacy and security protections at the core of Amazon Sidewalk, we’ve begun working with leading IoT silicon companies including Nordic Semiconductor, Semtech, Silicon Labs and Texas Instruments to enable chip sets that will power new devices and enable new customer benefits. We’re also announcing that Amazon Sidewalk will support multiple protocols including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Frequency Shift Keying (FSK) and LoRa in the 900 MHz band. Not only will this open up Sidewalk to more third-party devices, it will provide greater connectivity and help extend battery life for customer devices throughout the home and beyond.

Imagining New Sidewalk-Enabled Devices and Experiences

As developers consider Sidewalk-enabled chip sets and protocols, we’re inviting them to maximize the potential of Amazon Sidewalk. These are just a few examples of the new Sidewalk experiences we’ll be working on with device manufacturers in the coming months:

  • Improved Range and Reliability: From door locks and water sensors to smart lights, we’ll support low-bandwidth smart devices that extend well beyond the edge of wifi networks, giving customers the assurance that their devices can stay online even if their wifi doesn’t.
  • Locating Valuables: Just as with Tile, we’ll welcome a range of Sidewalk-enabled devices that will locate the things customers care about most, whether it’s their puppy, their keys, or their daughter’s bicycle.
  • Diagnostics: We’ll support devices like Sidewalk-enabled power tools and home appliances that will allow customer support to troubleshoot, diagnose and resolve problems even if wifi isn’t available.

Working Together with American Red Cross

Not only are we building Sidewalk to benefit customers and their neighbors, we’re building it to benefit entire communities. Later this year, we will begin a new proof of concept with the American Red Cross to explore if Amazon Sidewalk can support the tracking of blood collections supplies between distribution centers and donation sites to add new efficiencies within the blood donation supply chain. Amazon is donating the devices, technology and teams needed to support this effort. Responsible for about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, American Red Cross delivers a vital service to the community and we hope Sidewalk can help them make a difference.

The Future is Bright

As we continue to build this exciting new network for communities with privacy and security at the foundation, we remain committed to giving developers and device manufacturers the tools they need to help their devices connect to Sidewalk and to expand the capabilities of their devices for customers. Over the coming months we’ll be working with IoT chip set companies and device manufacturers to deliver a diverse set of devices and experiences for customers. We encourage device manufacturers to sign up to be notified when more information is available. To learn more, visit amazon.com/sidewalk.

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