DALLAS - Amazon is launching a new service called Sidewalk with the goal of improving signal strength and reliability. It works by connecting your Alexa devices with your neighbors’ devices.
The concept raises red flags for some people. But should it?
Here’s how it works.
Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that essentially connects the signal from every Amazon device in every home in the country – your Alexa, your Echo, your Ring doorbell and even tile trackers.
The idea is to use all of these devices as connection points to create a mesh of stronger strength and reliability.
For example, if your Ring is a little too far from your modem to be reliable or your Echo only works sometimes because it’s in a far corner of your house, even if your home network goes down it can piggyback off the neighbor’s signal which may be closer.
Needless to say it’s raising a few concerns.
While the increased reliability and signal strength is a plus, the idea that your device signal and your neighbor’s device signal will now be automatically connected starting June 8 comes with privacy concerns despite Amazon’s assurance there is no need to worry.
The tech experts at CNET said you want to consider how you use your network to decide if this is something you want to opt-out of.
"If you have data in your network and you have data or you have as we said a lot of cameras up around your house that you use to monitor your kid, you know you have a little bit of a higher risk factor. And if you have those higher risk factors then you want to be more stringent and more careful," said Jason Hiner with CNET.
There is a data cap so you don’t have to worry about the service eating up all of your data or costing you money because your neighbors will now have shared network access. That’s not going to happen.
But you will be automatically added to the service starting June 8 unless you opt-out.
You can do that by going to the Alexa app, clicking on More, then Settings, Account Settings and Disable.
For a quick tutorial, visit facebook.com/savemesteve.