UWB Year in Review: The UWB News and Trends We Watched in 2021

  • December 21, 2021



2021 was a pivotal year for UWB technology – the year that UWB wireless connectivity broke through to the mainstream commercial domain with the emergence of products like Apple’s AirTags and Tile’s Ultra UWB-powered devices for everyday positioning and location applications. UWB was also a hot topic in the automotive community, likewise for UWB’s precision positioning capability, applied for secure keyless entry apps.

But the biggest UWB trends in 2021 have rippled far beyond positioning and location apps, and we’ve seen this firsthand at SPARK Microsystems’ own blog, where we’ve tallied our top three most visited/read blog posts of the year.

#3 Most Read: With UWB, Wireless Earphones Are (Finally) Going to Sound Great

It’s probably no surprise that our blog post on UWB for high-quality audio was featured reading among site visitors. Wireless ear buds and earphones are ubiquitous in our lives – we wear them often and we wear them everywhere.  And we’re tired of them sounding like cheap tin cans!

The audio market is primed for UWB mainly because there’s such an immediate and widespread pent-up demand for high-quality wireless audio. It’s also a natural jumping off point for the numerous other rich media apps that could be dramatically improved with high-throughput short-range wireless connectivity speed that far exceeds Bluetooth.

#2 Most Read: UWB Isn’t Just for Positioning and Tracking – It’s Perfect for High-Speed Data and Multimedia Communications

Earlier this year when UWB grabbed the world’s attention in consumer positioning/location apps, it’s as if market watchers everywhere pricked up their ears all at once and asked their search engines: What else is UWB good for?

For many of them it was an eye-opening moment, and our blog post on the benefits of UWB for high-speed data and multimedia comms apps helped answer their questions. Positioning is a great application for UWB but it doesn’t take advantage of UWB’s energy efficiency attributes and therefore only scratches the surface of UWB’s full potential.

#1 Most Read: Facebook and Ray-Ban’s “Stories” Smart Glasses: A Glimpse Into the Future of AR/VR and UWB

Atop our list of the most visited/read blog posts of 2021 was a blog post that provided a literal look ahead to the future of UWB technology. Wearers of Facebook and Ray-Ban’s “Stories” smart glasses were provided a small glimpse of AR/VR’s potential.

What did they see? The metaverse looming large on the horizon.

Facebook itself rebranded as Meta just a month later in an attempt to harness some early metaverse mojo. But the metaverse extends well beyond the scale and scope of anything Meta – or any vendor – could ever undertake on its own.

The metaverse is where all of our revolutionary new technologies will converge. Cloud, edge, 5G, AI and IoT sensors – and in particular our UWB-powered personal area network (PAN) technology – will culminate in a fully immersive, shared virtual space that we’ll flock to for entertainment, gaming, social engagement and even commercial and industrial applications.

UWB is envisioned by many to emerge as the short-range wireless conduit that connects our XR goggles and peripherals to our high-speed network infrastructure, essentially acting as our physical ‘browsers’ to the metaverse. Ultra-high-speed data communication and extreme low latency and power efficiency are essential for these wireless devices, and UWB answers this need head on.

As we close out 2021, the team at SPARK Microsystems would like to thank our readers, colleagues, customers, partners and well-wishers for a hugely successful year! 2022 promises to be even better.

Picture credit: Canva