Evidence that the Wi-Fi industry is bursting with innovative products and emerging applications was on display at the Wi-Fi World Congress, the international conference and expo. The North American 20223 version of WWC just wrapped in Toronto, where more than 300 attendees and some 40 speakers converged.
Wi-Fi 7 enthusiasm could be felt across the trade show floor and the many manufacturer-led presentations held as part of the conference, while NaaS (networking-as-a-service), Wi-Fi Sensing and a universal compatibility among seemingly millions of IoT (Internet of Things) devices were also key components in discussions at the event. From the comprehensive new services that providers can offer to the conveniences that consumers will soon enjoy as a result, emerging Wi-Fi opportunities were regularly identified.
In the days following the event, as one way to both celebrate and congratulate those pushing product and service development forward in the Wi-Fi space, the Eight Annual Wi-Fi NOW Awards were announced, along with entry dates, added categories and plans for a virtual gala and winner presentation.
The best of the best in Wi-Fi specific areas such as Consumer Devices, Start-up Companies, Service Providers and IoT products (among a total of 11 categories) will be selected by independent qualified judges, organizers describe. From the three selected in each category, one winner will be named during a virtual awards gala planned for December 11. Entries are due by October 27.
Among the potential awards competition participants, Qualcomm, which amplified its presence at the conference by following up with announcements of its latest Wi-Fi solutions, including introduction of a new 10G Fibre Gateway Platform.
The platform delivers multi-gigabit Wi-Fi 7 connectivity and 10G networking capabilities as well as something the company calls Service Defined Wi-Fi. Qualcomm said its platform, which allows service providers to use a broadband gateway as a vehicle for increased subscriber engagement and smart home innovation with value-added services and applications, will be available commercially early next summer.
Canada’s Cognitive Systems showed its latest advances in Wi-Fi sensing technology and demonstrated some specific applications.
Features to enhance Wi-Fi Sensing have been under discussion in the Wi-Fi industry since at least 2019, when it was proposed that the primary use of Wi-Fi – that is, digital communications – could be supplemented by a sensing application. Wi-Fi Sensing detects motion and locates that movwement’s source with great detail by tracking and measuring the patterns and resistance encountered by transmitted radio waves. Wi-Fi signals are received and transmitted by literally millions of devices, many already in the home. Once the Wi-Fi Sensing software is installed, it turns Wi-Fi-connected devices into motion sensors, part of a sensing network.
The precision is remarkable – and getting better. For example, in the elder care market, the technology can help monitor people for their activity levels, sleep patterns, number of times they get up during the night, along with other specific pattern analysis that leads to what’s called “proof of life”.
Other applications for Wi-Fi Sensing, such as energy management and home automation, are in development, as Wi-Fi Sensing networks can also be used to adjust heating or cooling systems or turn devices, like lights, on and off.
Wi-Fi Sensing solutions, like Cognitive Systems’ WiFi Motion, provide this broad range of customer services while giving ISPs an offering with which they can enter new markets, such as home security, eldercare, energy management, network health and more. As a software-only solution, ISPs can continuously roll out new motion-based services at no additional expense.
Wi-Fi also opens up opportunities for vendors and users to run virtual or cloud-based networking functions.
Leading Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) providers represented at the show offer cloud-managed wired and wireless networking services that let companies and smaller businesses operate and control a network without having to purchase, own, or maintain network infrastructure.
With NaaS, attendees heard from companies like Join Digital, customers can more easily scale up and down based on demand, while also accessing tools for managing and routing network traffic and security measures to protect network traffic and data.
Busy developing new IoT solutions for the home, enterprise and industrial markets, Silicon Labs’ Vice-President Irvind Ghai took time at the conference to discuss Wi-Fi’s role in Matter with Claus Hetting, founder, chairman, and CEO of Wi-Fi NOW.
Matter, under the auspices of the Connectivity Standards Alliance and in consultation with several leading tech companies, is supposed to be a unifying foundation for the ever-growing ecosystem of IoT device.
It’s a kind of standardized communication protocol to allow any compliant application to communicate with other compliant devices. Such a universal ecosystem, it is hoped, will provide a way to connect Wi-Fi Sensing outputs between IoT devices, making it easier for vendors and consumers to create their own applications based on sensing outputs.
Presented by Wi-Fi NOW, trade shows expositions and congresses like the WWC Toronto event are held throughout the year in several international locations, bringing together its community of more than 20,000 active Wi-Fi professionals.
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