You’ll never hear an echo again.
In a bid to boost precision timing between the growing number of connected devices and entertainment options, the Wi-Fi Alliance at CES on Wednesday unveiled TimeSync, a new technology it said will eliminate drift and echo to provide a “seamless” experience across components.
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, TimeSync provides sub-microsecond clock synchronization between devices within typical WiFi ranges to yield a wireless audio, video, and data experience free from jitter, drift, and echo. While TimeSync technology will largely be invisible to many consumers, the Wi-Fi Alliance noted the feature is key to high-quality performance in a number of use cases, including home and mobile entertainment as well as industrial, medical, automotive, and other IoT applications.
“WiFi is becoming ubiquitous in an increasing number of device categories as it expands from an internet connectivity tool into a dependable enabler of high-quality, wireless entertainment experiences,” Wi-Fi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa said. “WiFi TimeSync enables interconnectivity between various rich, media components and also entire systems. This enhanced capability will create an excellent, fully-synchronized media experience with WiFi devices.”
As Wi-Fi Alliance’s VP of Maketing Kevin Robinson explained, one of the obvious use cases for TimeSync is in wireless speaker systems in the home.
“Let’s say you have seven speakers in a home theater setup,” Robinson said. “Those speakers need to know exactly when a sound or tone needs to come out of a speaker and they need to do it on the same clock.”
What TimeSync does, he continued, is allow several different devices to synchronize their clocks to they can have an output or control an event on the same schedule. And beyond in-home entertainment systems, this idea has applications in automotive infotainment smart cities, and healthcare, and can provide time-based data reporting, diagnostics, and process control for enterprise and industrial IoT uses. Additional use cases can only be imagined now, Robinson said, but will flourish with the rise of 5G.
Because TimeSync is being certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, Robinson said devices from a number of vendors will all be able to work together thanks to an open standards approach.
Robinson reported the Wi-Fi Alliance will begin certifying devices in the first half of 2017, but there will be a gap before consumers see TimeSync solutions in the market.