FiRa Consortium Ultra Wide-Band Ecosystem To Deliver Precise Indoor Positioning

The FiRa Consortium has just been established by the ASSA ABLOY Group which includes HID Global, and NXP Semiconductors, Samsung Electronics, and Bosch, and joined by Sony Imaging Products & Solutions Inc, LitePoint and the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) in order to grow the Ultra-Wideband (UWB) ecosystem providing accurate positioning for a variety of mobile and consumer applications.

The FiRa stands for “Fine Ranging”, and UWB technology relies on the IEEE 802.15.4z standard that provides real-time centimeter accuracy indoor positioning. The consortium claims “UWB technology outperforms other technologies in terms of accuracy, power consumption, robustness in RF connection, and security, by a wide margin”, especially in challenging environments.

UWB computes time-of-flight (ToF) to calculate the distance

The main roles of the FiRa Consortium will be to develop an interoperability standard, and promote the development of UWB applications.

Some of the use cases include:

  • Seamless Access Control – UWB can identify an individual’s approach toward or away from a secured entrance, verify security credentials, and let the authorized individual pass through the entrance without physically presenting the credential.
  • Location-Based Services – UWB’s highly precise positioning capability can make it easier to navigate airports and shopping malls, or even find a car in a multi-story parking garage. Retail applications can also benefit from the technology with targeted marketing and foot traffic data.
  • Device-to-Device (Peer-to-Peer) Services – UWB devices can find the relative distance between each other without the need for access points. This could allow people to easily find one another in crowded spaces or find specific items.

UWB is said to work well with other wireless standards, and does not interfere  with NFC, Bluetooth, nor WiFi.

More details can be found on the consortium website.

Thanks to Anonymous for the tip.

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