Samsung Expects UWB to Be One of the Next Big Wireless Technologies
At Samsung, we constantly push boundaries to bring consumers groundbreaking new mobile experiences that address their needs and enrich their lives. Our long history of pioneering mobile technologies to transform the way people live, work and play is one of the main reasons why I love what I do — and 2020 has only amplified our drive to spearhead meaningful innovation that anticipates people’s needs and provides seamless solutions.
UWB Technology is the Next Big Thing in Wireless Tech
Technology is always evolving, but every now and then, a new capability emerges, and we instantly know it’s something special — like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Samsung believes Ultra-Wideband (UWB) is one such game-changing wireless communication tech, which is why we are working tirelessly to advance and deploy it as quickly as possible. Together with industry leaders, we are striving to accelerate UWB’s broad adoption and implementation across ecosystems.
What Is UWB?
Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology is a short-range, wireless communication protocol that operates through radio waves at very high frequencies. This enables enhanced, highly accurate spatial awareness and directional capabilities that allow mobile devices to better understand their surroundings. With UWB, it’s possible to have seamless, intelligent connections across devices that can assist with a wide range of needs, from making secure remote payments to locating a missing remote control. UWB also makes it possible to navigate large spaces with incredible accuracy, which means you’ll be able to use your smartphone to find what you’re looking for, whether it’s somewhere to eat at the airport or the location of your car in a parking garage.
Samsung is Driving UWB Forward
Samsung has been making significant investments in UWB technology because we recognize its vast potential to revolutionize the way we use our smart devices to manage our lives. In 2018, we established a full-time task force dedicated to integrating UWB into our products, and soon after, we teamed up with NXP and HID Global to initiate the creation of the FiRa Consortium, an industry organization that promotes the adoption of UWB technology for use cases such as access control, location-based services and device-to-device services.
In the last year, FiRa has grown by leaps and bounds. Its members now hail from over 45 organizations across a vast range of industries, from consumer and enterprise technology to universities and automobile manufacturers. We are developing use cases, defining industry standards and establishing certification programs for interoperability because Samsung is staunchly committed to open collaboration, as it allows us to accelerate the development of cutting-edge technology and bring it to everyone, not just a select few.
Samsung’s UWB Innovation and the Road Ahead
In August, Samsung made history when we released the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, the first Android smartphone to feature UWB technology. And our newly released foldable device, the Galaxy Z Fold2, is equipped with UWB as well. Thanks to UWB, owners of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra and Z Fold2 can enjoy incredible precision and accuracy when using Nearby Share, which allows users to connect to over two billion Android devices and instantly transmit photos and files to family, friends and colleagues. UWB has also enhanced our SmartThings Find feature by enabling the Galaxy Note20 Ultra and Z Fold2 to generate an augmented reality (AR) visual display that shows you the exact direction, distance and location of your other Galaxy devices.
And soon, UWB technology will negate the need for physical keys. With Samsung’s, forthcoming Digital Key solution, you’ll be able to use your Galaxy smartphone to unlock your front door as you approach it — so, you’ll never have to spend time digging through your pockets and bags in search of your house, office or car key again.
One of the greatest things about technology is that it offers limitless opportunities for innovation. We have only just begun to tap UWB’s potential, and that’s incredibly exciting. Samsung is on a mission to forge ahead and discover revolutionary uses and capabilities that — until now — have only lived in our imaginations. So, stay tuned… the best is yet to come.
I will be discussing UWB technology with NXP President and CEO, Kurt Sievers, and NXP CTO, Lars Reger, at the upcoming NXP Connects 2020 flagship virtual developer conference on Oct. 20. Tune in to see demonstrations of some of the use cases mentioned above and to learn more about Samsung’s vision for pioneering UWB to develop breakthrough innovations that enable a safer and smarter world. Click here to register for the conference.
Chief Technology Officer, EVP & Head of Mobile R&D Office, Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics