Bluetooth SIG Adopts Low Energy Version 4.0

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced the formal adoption of Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0, which included low energy technology that should allow for longer battery life.

The SIG said this final step in the adoption process signals to Bluetooth SIG members that the organisation’s Qualification Program is now open for qualification of all Bluetooth product types to the Version 4.0 specification.

The organisation is a trade association founded in 1998 comprised of leaders in the wireless, telecommunications, computing, automotive, industrial automation and network industries, including Ericsson, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Toshiba.

Low Power

Bluetooth, a wireless technology that is the global short-range wireless standard for personal connectivity of a range of electronic devices, is building on its low power qualities with the latest version, which SIG said would require new hardware. The organisation said the first end user products would be qualified sometime this year.

“The finalisation of Bluetooth low energy wireless technology within the core specification is a monumental achievement,” said Michael Foley, executive director of Bluetooth SIG. “Bluetooth wireless technology can now, with the hard work of our members and our world-class qualification program, really do it all.”

The organisation said Bluetooth low energy single-mode chips consume less power than dual-mode chips and are optimised to run off a coin cell battery for a year or more. Proximity, Internet connected devices, consumer healthcare devices, sports and fitness products, watches, smart energy and home automation devices, and remote controls are the anticipated key use cases for this new version of the specification, SIG noted.

Big Opportunity

In a report out last week from West Technology Research Solutions, the opportunity for Bluetooth low energy technology, the hallmark feature of Version 4.0, was found to be considerable.

“Bluetooth low energy will be a significant contributor to the overall wireless sensor network market, representing nearly half of all shipments in 2015,” said the research firm’s principal analyst Kirsten West. “The advantage to this new protocol is that it is totally optimized for low power battery operation.”

Bluetooth SIG members can perform interoperability testing utilising this adopted Bluetooth core specification at the SIG’s 37th testing event, UnPlugFest (UPF) 37. This UPF is scheduled for October in Barcelona. The SIG posted a notice on its website saying members are encouraged to use this opportunity to test their devices against the new Bluetooth v4.0 implementations as well as against current Bluetooth devices from the organization’s device library.

For intensive hands-on testing and qualification training, Bluetooth SIG members can take part in ATLAS, the Advanced Training Lab and Services program offered by the Bluetooth SIG, the organisation said. The one-week training program at the Bluetooth SIG labs in Kirkland, Wash., offers participants to build their development knowledge and testing and qualification expertise for Bluetooth technology.

Nathan Eddy

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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