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Wide Open?

Ultra-wideband awaits its big debut.
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Marketers are already talking about Ultra-Wideband (UWB) wireless replacing everything from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi LANs. But no need to factor UWB into your buying plans just yet.


By 2006,
$25
BILLION

in m-commerce transactions is expected to generated via mobile phones.
SOURCE: Frost & Sullivan

UWB promises many benefits: theoretical transfer rates beyond 100Mbps, high data security and the ability to use the slack in different radio bands. But UWB companies still need to hammer out protocols to ensure product interoperability, notes Allen Nogee, a senior analyst at Cahners In-Stat Group. And so far, the FCC has approved only low-power implementations beyond popular radio bands and may take a year to study interference issues.

UWB does have an ultra-wide range of possibilities. Pilot projects already help police and fire personnel "see" people through smoky spaces or even walls. Over the next 18 months or so, you could see inventory tags, highly accurate measurement devices and collision-avoidance add-ons for industrial robots. But according to Nogee, "We won't see any standards-based communications solutions any time soon."


Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur's technology editor. Write him at mhogan@entrepreneur.com.

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Edition: May 2017

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