With the booming Internet of Things (IoT) device market, many people expect to be connected at all times. While it is unrealistic to be online 24/7 with no drops in coverage or speed—especially while travelling—losing connection can be a significant problem for organizations.
Businesses rely on devices and technology such as Wi-Fi and the cloud to remain connected to their data and customers. However, what happens when a business cannot connect? If employees are unable to even check their email inboxes, will productivity grind to a halt?
A possible solution that could help create a permanent connection for IoT devices involves sending data over sound. While this solution involves newer data-over-sound technology over the air, transmitting data via sound is an established practice. The characteristic whines and beeps of the dial-up modem was a form of data-over-sound using wires rather than over the air.
What is Data-Over-Sound?
Companies have been investing in new ways of transmitting data through their devices to ensure they are always securely connected. Sound waves would allow devices to interconnect without the use of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The evolution of data-over-sound technology has the real possibility to create network-independent IoT environments with uninterrupted connectivity.
Who Offers Data-Over-Sound?
Organizations that are currently working on data-over-sound solutions include Sonarax and Stimshop. Sonarax, an ultrasonic communication technology company, revealed its new standard in machine-to machine (m2m) connectivity. It enables devices to communicate with one another via sound waves. The protocol is the most extensive global infrastructure install base, and it operates on any device that has a built-in speaker or microphone.
Sonarax’s solution addresses three main areas:
- Ultrasonic Payments: Helping create secure connections for mobile payments and contactless ATM interaction. Pilot programs for this feature have been deployed at major global financial institutions.
- Ultrasonic Authentication: Providing a safe identification solution that can be integrated and used by any third party application.
- Ultrasonic Indoor Positioning: Allowing indoor positioning in buildings, such as shopping malls and hospitals, where GPS stops working. Sonarax is working to implement its technology for novel indoor navigation functionality at a later date.
Stimshop, an agency in France, offers data-over-sound technology via its protocol Wi-Us. Stimshop’s Wi-Us technology can turn speakers or sound systems into a vehicle for wireless communication, detection, authentication, and geo-location. The company also states that its technology can be used in environments incompatible with radio waves such as explosive environments or those with electromagnetic scrambling issues.
What are the security concerns when it comes to transferring data via sound? Experts worry that there are apps that can acquire the information sent through the sound waves.
However, Sonarax CEO Benny Saban states that over-the-sound verification between two devices restricts man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. This type of attack involves hackers trying to interfere with the communication between two devices.
“As in all communication protocols, encrypted data is converted to ultrasonic data and reaches its destination–unchanged–through the same encrypted method by which it was sent,” says Saban. “Essentially, the ultrasonic communication protocol adds an additional layer of security to the first layer of encryption. This means that in order to hack the data, one needs to intercept the sonic data, decipher it, and then decipher the encryption used.”
Preparing for Evolving IoT Technology
Find out what new IoT developments could impact your industry. Prepare your organization with the IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things, a series of eight training courses led by top researchers in the field. This program is designed for professionals working in engineering, IT, computer science, and related disciplines across all industries.
Chandler, Simon. (18 October 2019). How Data-Over-Sound Will Ensure A Permanently Connected IoT World. Forbes.
(27 February 2019). Sonarax Unveils a Novel Ultrasonic Device-to-device Communication Protocol. PR Newswire.
(10 January 2018). When Wi-Fi Won’t Work, Let Sound Carry Your Data. Wired.