Bluetooth Group Formally Adopts Low Energy Standard

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has quietly issued a new set of standards that will allow low-powered devices, such as watches or sensors, to use Bluetooth

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has adopted a new low-energy wireless technology standard that will allow low-powered devices, such as watches and sensors, to utilise Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth SIG develops technical specifications and promotes the use of Bluetooth technology. Earlier this month it began a “Ditch the Dongle” campaign in order to convince users to use their Bluetooth-enabled handsets to connect to the Internet.

Now the group has formally adopted the Bluetooth low energy wireless technology, which is the main feature of the Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0. This, says the group, will open up the use of Bluetooth technology in healthcare, fitness, security and home entertainment.

“With today’s announcement the race is on for product designers to be the first to market,” said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director, Bluetooth SIG. “Bluetooth low energy modules for all sorts of new products may now be qualified – this is an important step towards our goal of enabling new markets with Bluetooth wireless technology.”

The group believes that Bluetooth low energy mean that Bluetooth will be incorporated into devices such as watches, remote controls, and healthcare and sports sensors. This will then allow those devices to communicate with the millions of existing Bluetooth-enabled devices such mobile phones, PCs and PDAs that are shipped each year, according to the group.

Version 4.0 of the Bluetooth Core Specification (which includes Bluetooth low energy wireless technology) has a number of potentially useful features for these devices including ultra-low peak, average and idle mode power consumption; the ability to run for years on standard coin-cell batteries; low cost; multi-vendor interoperability; and enhanced range (increased modulation index provides a possible range for Bluetooth low energy of over 100 meters).

The spec allows for two implementation types – dual and single modes. Current Bluetooth chips can also be used with the new low energy Bluetooth stack.

Meanwhile CSR has announced that following the adoption of the Bluetooth low-energy specification by the Bluetooth SIG, it has qualified its BlueCore7 multifunction wireless Bluetooth solution for Bluetooth low energy products.

Besides its potential uses in the personal healthcare, sports and fitness, security, smart energy and home entertainment sectors, CSR believes it will also play a role in indoor positioning for boosting location technologies.

“This fourth incarnation of the Bluetooth specification is another step forward towards our vision of continually delivering the benefits of connectivity to consumers,” said Kanwar Chadha, CSR’s Chief Marketing Officer, “The real excitement behind Bluetooth low energy technology lies in the new wireless experience that CSR believes it will deliver: the convenience of wireless connectivity and ultra-long battery life in all manner of gadgets and appliances.”