Amazon wants to bring its Sidewalk IoT network to the countryside

Amazon Sidewalk
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Sidewalk, the wireless standard for IoT devices launched in 2019, is getting a significant expansion through Sidewalk Bridge Pro, powered by Ring, which aims to bring connectivity to harder-to-reach places. 

The project, announced by Amazon in partnership with Arizona State University and Thingy, is a professional-grade bridge device that helps transmit a network across larger spaces, making it ideal to use on university campuses, rural areas, parks, and so on. 

Sidewalk works by transmitting a signal from Ring and other IoT devices on the unlicensed 900Mhz spectrum (used for amateur radio) and could cover a distance of 500 meters to one mile in its original form. The Bridge Pro project aims to extend that significantly. 

Amazon Sidewalk

(Image credit: Amazon)

The final frontier 

Amazon's partnerships with Arizona State University and Thingy are designed to help test and improve the Bridge Pro service. 

In the case of Arizona State, the Bridge will be used on smart city research. Thingy, which makes air quality monitoring devices, will use the Bridge to collect far-flung devices to a network, helping those fighting wildfires. 

“Exploring sustainable and long-term solutions plays a critical role in advancing our smart technology initiatives, both on campus and within the community,” said Arizona State's Bobby Gray. “The university is unique in that it is a space that encourages new ideas and disruptive technologies to be developed, tested, and iterated upon quickly. Our goal is to deploy and test Amazon Sidewalk Bridge Pro to bring smart solutions, like those fitted to the blue light poles, to campus at scale and lower costs.”

"We designed Thingy AQ for very remote locations, where power efficiency and range were critical for fire ground operations, and have been using LoRa since day one,” said Thingy CEO Scott Waller. “Amazon Sidewalk Bridge Pro brings us the power of LoRa in a massive number of needed locations, easy integration with our existing applications in Amazon Web Services, and trusted security for the devices and applications."

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.