Brain-inspired high-dimensional (HD) computing represents and manipulates data using very long, random vectors with dimensionality in the thousands. This representation provides great robustness for various classification tasks where classifiers operate at low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) conditions. Similarly, hyperdimensional modulation (HDM) leverages the robustness of complex-valued HD representations to reliably transmit information over a wireless channel, achieving a similar SNR gain compared to state-of-the-art codes. Here, we first propose methods to improve HDM in two ways: (1) reducing the complexity of encoding and decoding operations by generating, manipulating, and transmitting bipolar or integer vectors instead of complex vectors; (2) increasing the SNR gain by 0.2 dB using a new soft-feedback decoder; it can also increase the additive superposition capacity of HD vectors up to 1.7× in noise-free cases. Secondly, we propose to combine encoding/decoding aspects of communication with classification into a single framework by relying on multifaceted HD representations. This leads to a near-channel classification (NCC) approach that avoids transformations between different representations and the overhead of multiple layers of encoding/decoding, hence reducing latency and complexity of a wireless smart distributed system while providing robustness against noise and interference from other nodes. We provide a use-case for wearable hand gesture recognition with 5 classes from 64 EMG sensors, where the encoded vectors are transmitted to a remote node for either performing NCC, or reconstruction of the encoded data. In NCC mode, the original classification accuracy of 94% is maintained, even in the channel at SNR of 0 dB, by transmitting 10,000-bit vectors. We remove the redundancy by reducing the vector dimensionality to 2048-bit that still exhibits a graceful degradation: less than 6% accuracy loss is occurred in the channel at − 5 dB, and with the interference from 6 nodes that simultaneously transmit their encoded vectors. In the reconstruction mode, it improves the mean-squared error by up to 20 dB, compared to standard decoding, when transmitting 2048-dimensional vectors.