Creates Numerous Use Cases and Monetization Opportunities for Wi-Fi – Pedro Mouta, Manager – PMO

As homes and enterprises become increasingly smarter, their dependence upon and interaction with Wi-Fi increases exponentially. Wi-Fi sensing (also known as RF Sensing), a new technology that enables motion detection using existing Wi-Fi signals, is certain to further cement the growing relationship that people have at home and work with Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Sensing delivered as a potential software upgrade to existing access-points works by allowing Wi-Fi devices to behave like a radar system, wherein the focus of detecting motion and providing information is used to enable new Wi-Fi based services.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) aims to introduce and foster the adoption of new applications of Wi-Fi technology to the industry which are the core mission of the NextGen Work Group. WBA and its members work together and delivered the Wi-Fi Sensing Whitepaper, providing use cases and requirements necessary for the technology to be utilized in home and enterprise environments, as well as identifying gaps that need to be addressed to further enhance the technology and its applications.

Wi-Fi sensing incorporates three main types of environmental sensing:

  • Motion detection
  • Gesture recognition (waving or finger motions)
  • Biometric recognition (changes in temperature).

It builds upon existing standards, hardware and infrastructure to create new opportunities in areas such as home and enterprise security, healthcare, and building automation for both network operators and Wi-Fi service providers.

The latest WBA Wi-Fi Sensing white paper focuses on common Wi-Fi deployment environments and includes a number of use cases and deployment requirements for consumers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and network operators.

Sample Use Cases

For example, considering a residential application, Wi-Fi sensing can be used by consumers to setup a DIY home security system without cameras or installing sensors.  The home network and connected devices work as the sensor. This provides opportunity for security providers to augment existing systems and opens the ability for both hardware OEMs and network providers to offer home monitoring services to customers.

Wi-Fi Sensing technology, at the same time, can also be combined with energy management, without using passive infrared (PIR) sensors that require a dedicated install and are limited to line-of-sight. By utilizing Wi-Fi sensing, building managers can eliminate the need to build and maintain multiple systems, enabling consumers to build automation systems using existing Wi-Fi infrastructure and connected devices. Likewise, enterprise OEMs can provide energy management services to customers and network providers can offer automation-related services to their customers using these systems.

Elder care and Biometrics are two other applications of Wi-Fi sensing with high potential.  Statistics show the aging population has the desire to maintain their independent lifestyle and look towards adopting new technology innovations as means to do so.  Wi-Fi sensing has the ability to offer care givers the ability to ensure their elder parents or relatives are safe, while not invading their individual privacy.

The Wi-Fi Sensing White Paper was created with input from the WBA NextGen Work Group including key contributions from  members including Accuris Networks; AT&T; Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL); Boingo Wireless; BSG Wireless; CableLabs; Center for Development of Telematics (CDOT); Charter Communications; Cognitive Systems Corp.; COX Communications; Huawei; Intel Corp.; iPass/Pareteum; Nokia; Qualcomm; Shaw Communications; Smith Micro; and ViaSat.

After examined the potentials and capabilities of Wi-Fi Sensing technology, the group is continue working  on the next stages which  focuses on two particular directions:

  • Liaise with the industry to foster the development of Wi-Fi Sensing specifications
  • Define Develop deployment scenarios and performance metrics, in preparation of practical implementations of the technology.

WBA encourages wireless operators and device vendors which aim to expand new revenue opportunities driven by the Wi-Fi infrastructure business to join the project team and take the lead of the wireless evolution.

Download the Wi-Fi Sensing White Paper now!

To participate in this or other WBA projects, please contact us through WBA PMO.