Too often we have real struggle connecting our smartphone to car via Bluetooth, or set up a wireless printer. Sometimes, it is easier to connect to a server that is millions of meters away rather than connecting to nearby devices. Nobody wants to wait for coffee because there is a problem with cash register in catching up the phone.
The time is for Internet of Things and these devices need Wi-Fi to perform their best. But with the emerging number of IoT devices also increase the problems related to connecting these devices. There had been many technologies like Bluetooth, LoRa, and NFC. A large number of organizations are turning to sound as a solution, including Google.
The technology developed by Ticketmaster uses an inaudible sound that can be heard by your device via Siri, Alexa, Bixby or whatever assistant. The data will get transmitted instantly.
Sound as an alternative
Apple Pay makes use of NFC to enable payments wirelessly. But not all the devices have NFC support. Bluetooth is found in almost every phone but requires pairing. Thus, Bluetooth can be a challenge for big organizations. However, every device is capable of producing sound and all the devices have a microphone too. Using those costs can be cut in developing new equipment.
Sound in itself is a transfer of data. Two humans who are talking to each other are transmitting data. It is not new to computers too, your old dial up modem used to convert the data into sound and transfer it via phone cable.
The new technology uses air as a medium of propagation for transmission of sound. Though, you cannot hear them because of inaudible frequencies.
The working is quite simple. One device (the sender) converts a chunk of data like text into sequence of sounds that the receiving device can decode. The receiving device processes the audio and converts it back to the source form. You can think of it as audio form of Morse code but more complex.
The developers have the challenge to choose an adequate frequency at which applications can detect the signals in very noisy places as well like concerts and sports tournaments. Other companies are working to compress the data so that more data can be transferred and faster.
The compression is in its early stage. Only small files like digital tickets can be transferred for now.
Google uses audio to pair phones with Chromecast.
Not only audio based data transfer ubiquitous but also it can help transfer data where other modes can’t be used like nuclear-power stations.
Is it secure?
Being scared is natural when you are transferring payment credentials over the audio spectrum. But just like it happens with Wi-Fi the data can be encrypted to protect it.
Experts say that sound can be a secure way to send protected data as no one else will know if any data is even being transferred. There are so many sounds in the audio spectrum.