“The UWB technology now finds ubiquitous applications apart from the primary uses in precise real-time location services.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) devices are all around us either in the form of a smartphone. smartwatch, or a smart key. The internet evolution from 2G and 3G to 4G LTE and 5G is significant development in the rise of IoT devices and thanks to that, we now have over 15B IoT devices across the globe. That is nearly double the human population at present. The no. of devices is also expected to reach 29.47B by 2030. A lot of it has to do with the tech-savvy lifestyle that we have adopted and happily enjoy. I mean there are people who can’t sleep without their Fitbit because they want to measure their sleep hours and sleeping patterns as well as their heart rate while they rest and why not.
Ultra Wideband is also an Internet of Things technology and it can now be found in smartphones as well. The technology is not new, just as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), but earlier its use was limited to covert military communications over short-range and medical imaging.
With the rising smartphone penetration across the globe and huge lifestyle shift towards wearables, UWB technology now finds ubiquitous applications apart from the primary uses in precise real-time location services.
What is UWB and How it Works?
The Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology is a wireless, short-range technology standard that transmits low transmission power radio waves with extremely high transmission rates (signal/nanoseconds). This allows it to locate the UWB-enabled object in real-time, with great precision.
For the UWB technology to function, you’ll need two UWB chip-enabled devices, one being the transmitter and the other being the receiver.
UWB technology has become so widespread now. People can locate objects using UWB-enabled tags (like Apple’s AirTag, which is also based on UWB), locate their wallets and find keys that people misplace all the time. A distributed antenna system, MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output), is also a part of the standard and is used in smartphones and smartwatches to enable short-range communication with enhanced UWB reception and range, resulting in a smooth connection between devices.
Top 5 applications of Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology
Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology has a wide range of applications across various industries. Here are the top five applications of UWB technology:
1.Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) with UWB
UWB technology is widely used in RTLS applications for high-accuracy indoor positioning and tracking of assets, people, and vehicles. The technology is highly capable of determining precise locations, even in complex indoor environments, making it ideal for applications such as asset management, inventory tracking, and personnel monitoring.
2.Secure Access Control of UWB
Ultra Wideband technology offers enhanced security for access control systems. Its precise ranging capabilities can be leveraged by access control systems to ensure that only authorized individuals are granted access to secure areas. This solves a lot of security issues in close indoor settings such as offices and residential buildings.
The technology allows you to accurately determine the proximity of a user's device to a secure door or entrance, providing an extra layer of security compared to traditional access control technologies such as BLE and RFID.
3.Automotive Applications of UWB
UWB as a modern technology is being increasingly adopted in the automotive industry for applications such as keyless entry systems, secure vehicle authentication, and precise vehicle positioning. It can successfully enable hands-free access to vehicles, allowing users to unlock and start their cars without physically interacting with a key or key fob. It can assist in parking assistance systems, collision avoidance, and autonomous vehicle navigation providing more efficiency and personal automation in our day-to-day life.
4.Smart Home and IoT applications of UWB technology
UWB technology is well-suited for smart home and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Its precise ranging capabilities enable location-based services within the home, such as smart lighting control, room-level occupancy detection, and asset tracking. It can also facilitate seamless device connectivity and communication, improving the overall user experience in a smart home environment. It being wireless brings a lot of personalization experience.
5.Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) with UWB
UWB can enhance Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality experiences by enabling precise spatial tracking and localization. UWB can accurately determine the position and orientation of AR/VR devices, allowing for more immersive, context-aware, and interactive experiences. Applications include virtual gaming, training simulations, architectural visualization, and industrial design amongst others.
To conclude, UWB technology is an efficient IoT technology, connecting smart devices wirelessly, enabling a low-power radio wave transmission at an extremely high transmission rate, suitable for short-range IoT applications. It provides real-time location, smart access control, automation, and asset tracking features at a low cost. It is further expected to find even more applications across various industries, contributing to the development of innovative and context-aware solutions.