Researcher proposes new Wi-Fi standard for wearable device connectivity
A research article discusses the issues surrounding the current Wi-Fi standard for connectivity on wearable devices and proposes a new standard, called Wi-Bo.
Wi-Bo, short for Wireless Body, would have a frequency of between 10 and 20GHz and a maximum range of two metres. As analyst and report author Andrew Sheehy explains: “It seems that what is needed is a completely new wireless networking standard.
“Wi-Fi is a short-range wireless networking standard that is used to connect devices in home and office locations. ‘Wi-Bo’ would be a micro-range wirless networking standard used to interconnect devices that are mounted on the body.”
Sheehy’s view is that with multiple devices on the go – some even working inside the wearer’s body – all connected to each other and to network-level services, good old Wi-Fi simply won’t be up to the task.
The analyst argues a smartphone would be a natural candidate for being the ‘central controller’ device to wirelessly interconnect the others. Smart glasses, he argues, would struggle if, as he predicts, their design is collapsed into a pair of contact lenses, while the smartwatch is a non-starter because of low battery life issues.
It’s an interesting area to examine. As we launch head first into an Internet of Things-based world, the networks supported the plethora of connected devices is naturally going to get weighed down. A term which is emerging for a solution to this issue is low power wide area (LPWA) networks, which are inexpensive yet also inefficient. There are emerging technologies in place to boost speed and connection with Wi-Fi, from Hotspot 2.0 to the 802.11ac standard. Yet the mountain is only getting bigger.
Sheehy concludes: “It is likely that a number of entrepreneurs are pitching this very idea to tech VCs right now or, if not, then they soon will be. It seems clear that any startup which was successful in developing a technological approach that could be used to effect ‘wireless networking for wearable devices’ would be interesting to Google, Apple, Microsoft or Samsung, plus others.”
You can read the article here.
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