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Bluetooth 5 Boosts Speed, Capacity And Range To Support ‘Connectionless’ IoT

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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New Bluetooth 5 standard will arrive in devices later this year, helping app developers embrace IoT without need for connection or app with beacons

Bluetooth 5 will have four times the range, two times the speed and eight times the data broadcasting capacity than previous versions, features which supporters say will make it the optimum wireless standard for ‘connectionless’ Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) says the more robust connection will facilitate numerous indoor and outdoor use cases, while the increased capacity will allow for the transmission of ‘more intelligent’ data.

Previous upgrades to Bluetooth have focused on speed, security and power consumption as it looks to become an “essential” standard for short range IoT.

Bluetooth 5 IoT

bluetooth-logoBluetooth 5 is targeting ‘connectionless’ applications powered by Beacons that function without a device having to connect to a network or download an application. It believes navigation, warehouse inventory, emergency response and smart cities will all benefit from the eradication of these barriers.

“Bluetooth 5 will transform the way people experience the IoT by making it something that happens simply and seamlessly around them,” said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

“Increasing operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices. And now with the ability to broadcast a much richer set of information, Bluetooth 5 will make beacons, location awareness, and other connectionless services an even more relevant part of an effortless and seamless IoT experience,” he added.

The Bluetooth SIG says membership is at an “all time high” with 30,000 members and it predicts more than 371 million Bluetooth-enabled beacons will be shipped by 2020. Bluetooth is one of a number of standard competing to connect the IoT, as are Wi-Fi, SIGFOX and the cellular Narrowband IoT (Nb-IoT).

“Today, there are 8.2 billion Bluetooth products in use, and the enhancements in Bluetooth 5 and planned future Bluetooth technical advancements mean that Bluetooth will be in more than one-third of all installed IoT devices by 2020,” added Powell. “The drive and innovation of Bluetooth will ensure our technology continues to be the IoT solution of choice for all developers.”

The first Bluetooth 5-enabled devices are expected to arrive later this year or early next.

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