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In this paper, we present Esense, a new paradigm of communication between devices that have fundamentally different physical layers. Esense is based on sensing and interpreting energy profiles. While our ideas are generic enough to be applicable in a variety of contexts, we illustrate the usefulness of our ideas by presenting novel solutions to existing problems in three distinct research domains. As part of these solutions, we demonstrate the ability to communicate between devices that follow two different standards: IEEE 802.11 and 802.15.4. We consider two scenarios here: 1) where there is no background traffic and 2) where there is background 802.11 traffic. In each case, we build an "alphabet setâ: a set of signature packet sizes that can be used for Esense communication. Specifically for the second case, we take a measurement-based alphabet set construction by considering WiFi traces from actual deployments. Based on practical observations and experiments, we theoretically quantify the maximum achievable transmission rate when using Esense. With background traffic, we could potentially construct an alphabet of size as high as 100. Such a large alphabet size promises efficient Esense communication. We show via a prototype implementation that effective communication is indeed feasible even when both sides use different physical layers.