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What is Amazon Sidewalk?

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Amazon is soon to release a new technology that they have called Amazon Sidewalk. We are going to go over what Sidewalk is, consider the safety implications, and list the steps to disable it.

What is Amazon Sidewalk?

According to Amazon:

“Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that helps devices like Amazon Echo devices, Ring Security Cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers work better at home and beyond the front door. When enabled, Sidewalk can unlock unique benefits for your device, support other Sidewalk devices in your community, and even locate pets or lost items.”

Amazon Sidewalk is basically a network protocol that extends the range of compatible devices. If Community Finding is enabled then the more neighbors that have Sidewalk enabled the stronger the network becomes. It becomes stronger because Community Finding allows your Sidewalk compatible device to act like a bridge that allows other users to manage their smart devices.

What does all of this look like in the real world? Here are some examples of what Sidewalk could do for you:

  • Compatible smart devices will be able to stay connected even when they are out of range for your WiFi
  • Compatible trackers will be able to keep in touch with you when you have lost something
  • Speed up the process of adding new smart devices to your home

This is only the beginning. Given time for further development the number of compatible devices and the capabilities of Sidewalk will only increase. What devices are compatible with Sidewalk?

Current Amazon Sidewalk compatible devices:

  • Echo 2nd Generation
  • Echo 3rd Generation
  • Echo 4th Generation
  • Echo Dot 2nd Generation
  • Echo Dot 2nd Generation for Kids
  • Echo Dot 3rd Generation
  • Echo Dot 3rd Generation for Kids
  • Echo Dot 4th Generation
  • Echo Dot 4th Generation for Kids
  • Echo Plus 1st Generation
  • Echo Plus 2nd Generation
  • Echo Show 1st Generation
  • Echo Show 2nd Generation
  • Echo Show 5
  • Echo Show 8
  • Echo Show 10
  • Echo Spot
  • Echo Studio
  • Echo Dot with Clock 3rd Generation
  • Echo Dot with Clock 4th Generation
  • Ring Floodlight Cam 2019
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Mount 2019
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Wired 2019

When Sidewalk is implemented this year it will be free to use.

Is Amazon Sidewalk Safe and How to Disable or Enable it

Is Amazon sidewalk safe? As with any smart technology you will be sharing your data. Users will be able to see your approximate location. On the bright side your exact address will not be shown and Amazon is implementing multiple levels of encryption to protect your personal data. Overall it shouldn’t be any less safe than your smart speakers and appliances. If you currently have compatible devices and are comfortable doing so you can try it out. As I said, it’s not any more dangerous than other IoT devices. If on the other hand you do have privacy concerns about using Sidewalk let’s go through the steps to disable it.

To turn off Sidewalk:

  1. On your phone open the Alexa app
  2. Tap more
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap Account Settings
  5. Tap Amazon Sidewalk
  6. If Sidewalk is enabled tap the switch to disable it

If you want to keep Sidewalk enabled but would like to disable Community Finding:

  1. Open the Alexa app
  2. Tap More
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap Account Settings
  5. Tap Amazon Sidewalk
  6. Tap Community Finding
  7. If Community Finding is enabled tap the switch to disable it

To enable Sidewalk or Community Finding just follow the above steps and flip the switches back to the enabled position.

The impact that Sidewalk could have can not be over stated. With Sidewalk Amazon is setting a course that could to lead to smart neighborhoods. Comfortable with it or not, it can’t be denied that this is a fascinating development that is just another step in the development of IoT.

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