Apple AirTags opt for UWB for Accuracy
Earlier this week Apple announced the launch of Apple AirTags. AirTags will launch on April 30th and will work on all devices containing the U1 chip, which includes the iPhone 11 and later models.
The tags are designed to track items and are customisable. Users can assign AirTag to an item and name it with a default like “Keys” or “Jacket,” or provide a custom name of their choosing. This technology builds on Apple’s existing “Find My” application.
Each AirTag is equipped with the Apple-designed U1 chip using Ultra-Wideband technology. This advanced technology can more accurately determine the distance and direction to a lost AirTag.
UWB gets Validation from Apple
In the consumer market we are used to hearing of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 5G. Now it's time to learn another wireless communications term: ultra wideband, or UWB. The technology lets you pinpoint the exact location of assets.
iPhones since the iPhone 11 family have included Apple's UWB chip, the U1, but AirTags really bring the technology to life. UWB communicates with an iPhone 11 or 12 so a big arrow leads you to the tag. Apple chose ultra-wideband (UWB) technology to locate the device with greater precision, validating the use of UWB as a reliable tracking technology.
What is Ultra-Wideband?
UWB is a short-range, wireless communication protocol that – like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi – uses radio waves. But it differs substantially in that it operates at a very high frequency, and offers greater accuracy.
Why opt for Ultra-Wideband?
- UWB enables real-time accurate readings as close as 10–20 cm.
- Bluetooth however may be as accurate as 1–2 meters, suitable in some applications but not as accurate as UWB.
- Ultra-Wideband has a very wide spectrum or frequency (typically 500MHz) compared to BLE (2MHz).
- UWB measures time it takes a signal to travel – the higher frequency enables such accuracy
- Superior performance in multipath.
- The ability to penetrate obstacles.
A recent report from ABI Research suggests that 2021 would be the year that UWB will emerge as a key wireless connectivity technology.
“The foundation has been laid for Ultra-Wideband (UWB) to become a mainstream wireless connectivity technology across many consumer and IoT applications, enabling accurate indoor location and positioning with context-aware information and precise analytics in real-time.”
VisionID, Locationing, and Ultra-Wideband:
VisionID is recognised as a leader in Visibility and Locationing Technology in Ireland and is a specialist partner with Zebra Technologies. VisionID is currently the only Zebra partner in Ireland who can deploy Zebra Savanna location software.
The Savanna platform aggregates and analyses data from edge devices to reveal actionable workflow insights, powers next-gen applications and solutions that deliver best-action guidance, and integrates with existing hardware, software, and data ecosystems to give you a more complete picture of your business.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VisionID developed SureTraceID, a solution that will make social distancing and the return to work easier for our clients, whilst enforcing safety protocols and protecting employees both now and in the future.
The use of Ultra-Wide Band technology enables full visibility of employees so we can deliver an accurate contact tracing solution, reducing the risk of the spread of infection, minimizing exposure to maximize your production capabilities.
Each employee will be assigned their own UWB wristband or Lanyard Tag with a unique ID Code. If a 2m social distance infringement occurs between two workers, the tag will alert the employees in real-time via a vibration or alarm. The UWB technology enables accurate readings as close as 10–20 cm, removing the risk of false positives and non-records.
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