Ultra-Wideband is a radio technology that can use a very low energy level for short-range, high-bandwidth communications

NXP Semiconductors announced that its Trimension Ultra-Wideband (UWB) platform now combines UWB and Bluetooth Low Energy solutions to deliver spatial awareness to the new Samsung Galaxy SmartTag+, making users aware of the location of their personal items. Most notably, the platform now includes augmented reality (AR) technology, powered by UWB, to visually guide users towards missing items using the smartphone’s camera.

While the news focuses on the consumer use case for UWB-enabled smart tags, NXP’s Vice President of Mobile Transactions Charles Dachs discussed some of the possible industrial use cases for the technology with RCR Wireless News, as well as what the broader industry implications of Ultra-Wideband technology might be.

UWB is a radio technology that can use a very low energy level for short-range, high-bandwidth communications over a large portion of the radio spectrum, and according to Dachs, is a one-of-kind technology.

 “A truly unique thing about Ultra-Wideband,” he began, “is that it provides the ability for the devices to have spatial awareness, so that they know their respective position to each other in space and in real time.”

In fact, he said that an Ultra-Wideband-enabled device can find another within a range of 10 centimeters in a 3D space, and can do so even in challenging, cluttered environments, like inside of a home or factory.  

“GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth fail to provide the same level of robustness and accuracy,” he continued. “This capability opens a very broad range of use cases.”

In fact, this latest news comes after a host of prior announcements made by NXP regarding UWB use cases, such as home access solutions and digital car keys.

“It’s about creating a broad ecosystem of UWB-enabled devaices,” Dachs explained. “The more phones that have this UWB capability, the more other devices, like IoT devices and cars, need to have the capability as well.”

When it comes to the SmartTag+ solution, specifically, Dachs sees it being useful in indistrual applications as well as consumer ones, most notably in the advances it offers asset tracking. Devices on a factory floor or in a warehouse can be fitted with a Ultra-Wideband tag for easier and more accurate tracking.  

UWB can even help with social distancing by positioning employees or consumers in a retail store so that they are the appropriate distance apart, and ensuring that they stay that way, proving just how varied and broad the possibility are when it comes to Ultra-Wideband technology.

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