IDG Blog | Apple’s’UWB’, how will it be used for business?

Apple has begun to accelerate the development and implementation of the UltraWideBand (UWB) standard. It was first introduced in a consumer product called the iPhone 11, and is now supported by smartphones from other manufacturers, including Apple.

These technological developments began to transform into new business cases. Then, what has been unfolding so far?

According to Digitimes, interest in this standard is growing rapidly. Recently, several large companies have joined the UWB Alliance. Apple is a non-participating association. This standard has many advantages and uses. First, let’s take a quick look at this.

Ⓒ Michael Simon / IDG

UWB is an ultra-low power wireless technology. It transmits data over a wide frequency band (500MHz up to several GHz) over a range of about 100 meters. Because it uses a wide frequency band, it can pass through walls much more reliably than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

It is a very safe standard, and it is well aware of proximity and location. Also, thanks to the operating frequency, information can be sent through walls with a much higher success rate than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, so it can be used for various purposes. It is also useful for data transmission between devices over short distances.

How Apple uses this technology

Currently, Apple is mainly using the UWB standard (U1 chip type) for spatial recognition. Devices equipped with this technology can find other devices that use the same technology. It is implemented in AirDrop, HomePod Mini, and Apple CarKey systems. In addition, it is expected that this technology will be used to some degree in the upcoming’Find My AirTags devices’. Using Bluetooth and UWB (predictably), it is expected to build a framework to find items like lost keys and glasses (devices are equipped with attached tags).

Although not a member of the UWB Alliance, Apple is not a member of the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), an organization of vehicle manufacturers and partners interested in using UWB to build a system that opens, locks, and starts a car with a smartphone. ). Apple uses it for a Car Key system that opens the door when a vehicle is approached, rather than bringing an iPhone or Apple Watch close to the lock to unlock it. The model will extend to environments that automatically open doors when an authorized user approaches close. Thanks to UWB.

However, new business cases are also emerging.


CCC is involved in a project called Car Data. It is a project that aims to build an ecosystem that supports data-driven solutions such as using iOS, insurance and road monitoring, and vehicle management. It is considered the successor to the MirrorLink open (open) standard used to connect apps between smartphones and vehicles.

Smart home

NXP Semiconductors is building an ecosystem of UWB components targeting multiple markets, including smart homes. For example, a home is envisioning an automated home system for homeowners to open or lock visits, set up’scenes’, and perform other tasks. It is a concept that can be extended to the use of tracking lost items.

Smart industry

This is also useful at home, but it is a concept that can be used in any automated environment. Using UWB-based presence and automation tools, offices, hospitals, schools, manufacturing sectors, and distribution centers can all be improved. Because this standard is so accurate, it is also possible to implement and augment location-based and M2M applications in ways we haven’t imagined yet, around data providing information to spatial awareness systems.

For example, smart sensors in public transit systems (described in more detail below) that help people find their way. In addition, it can be used in highly automated warehouse and logistics systems. In addition, because UWB is situation-aware, it can also be used in collision detection and industrial equipment handling systems.

App Clips

The concepts of location, identity, and proximity fit well, at least conceptually, with Apple’s App Clips. App Clips allow you to use some of the app’s features without having to download the entire app package. If supported, it is usually provided through an app clip, QR code, or NFC tag. You can also start from within the app. You’ll come across this when you rent a scooter or buy coffee.

Access to this reduced version of the app works well with UWB. This is because it would be convenient to use these apps on your own device while traveling, shopping, or wandering around warehouse stores. It can also be used in the field of AR. Proximity awareness fits well with indoor mapping tools that provide directions as you move around museums, supermarkets and shopping malls.


The UWB Alliance describes Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) as a time-saving tool for medical staff. It helps quickly find patients and equipment, and the technology’s radar sensor can play a useful role as a tool to measure heart rate and respiration remotely without contacting the device. Such systems will be introduced in smart buildings and baby monitors. Like a fall detection system, it will help older people to live more independently.


High accuracy and accurate position detection plays a pretty important and useful role in the event of a loss of keys or glasses, and is an essential element for agricultural sector practitioners and smart health monitoring tools looking for an accurate, low-cost, low-power system to track livestock.

Social distancing

IWavenology, a startup company in Taiwan, introduced a device called iDistance that can prevent the spread of Corona 19 at CES by helping people to keep social distances. This device uses UWB, detects when someone is too close, and warns the wearer. It can process up to 50 people per second.

The company has developed an overhead drone detection, UWB-based product for indoor positioning, and a system that uses UWB to identify who the robot should follow. In the latter case, the stroller can follow the parents, the warehouse trolley follows the worker, and the defibrillator can identify the nurse who needs the device and the floor where the nurse is located.


Humatics developed a UWB-based navigation system for trains in New York in 2019. It is a system that can immediately identify and provide the exact location of the train inside the tunnel throughout the transport system. Using the precise location data generated by this technology, organizations that manage trains can operate trains more efficiently, and as a result, users can arrive at their destinations earlier.

We don’t know yet how Apple plans to use this technology in its devices. Still, the continued adoption of UWB chips for the iPhone, the best-selling product, suggests that we are working to create an ecosystem in which some of the business proposals described above will emerge.

At present, Apple’s exploration of UWB is at the level of’possibility and exploration’, but many business use cases that are slowly emerging illustrate the opportunities that will be presented to companies. [email protected]

Source: ITWorld Korea by

*The article has been translated based on the content of ITWorld Korea by If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!