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The Sound of Progress

“It’s a bit like an audio QR code”

TalkTalk's new ad marks a turning point.

At the weekend I decided to have a clear out of that ‘stuff’ drawer in the kitchen. There were two things I discovered:

I’m surprised I haven’t yet made an appearance on ‘Hoarders’

An old Nokia 3310

I won’t dwell on the first for too long but the second, the indestructible mobile device, got me thinking. Not about whether the Nokia or a Volvo would last longer in a fight to the death but about data transfer.

How far we’ve come from sending ringtones to each other with phones joined in infrared matrimony. Bluetooth came next, swiftly followed by Wi-Fi revolutionising the way data can be shared from device to device or one individual to another.

With Wi-Fi officially turning 19 years old this year, where do we take our next steps? Security is the focus of late, how can we make our data more secure? The answer could be simpler than we think.

One company is harnessing the power of sound to securely, quickly and efficiently transmit data. The technology, known as Chirp, has the ability to transfer data between any device as long as they have a speaker and/or microphone.

“It’s a bit like an audio QR code”

Of course, using sound is arguably one of the oldest forms of communication, everything from Morse code to speech, which is where its strength lies – in its pure simplicity.

Real-world use cases span from payment transactions, promotional offers, map coordinates and can even be used to broadcast data via radio, TV and at live events.

Fortunately, the technology works with inaudible sound too – which means that when data is required to be sent over a longer distance or over substantial noise it can be made ‘louder’ without having a physical impact.

Will it replace Wi-Fi? I doubt it but I certainly think it’s one to watch and an exciting technology to keep tabs on.

What do you think? Sounds too good to be true or the sound of progress?

James Nelson

August 2018


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