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Bluetooth to get more range and more speed to power IoT

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has published its technology roadmap as it moves to position the networking technology as a key enabler for the internet of things

The Bluetooth wireless standard will be enhanced to become more powerful and faster over longer distances in the coming months, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which has published details of its technology roadmap for 2016.

The group is moving to position Bluetooth as a key standard for delivering the promise of the internet of things (IoT), and help energise fast-growing areas of interest such as smart homes, industrial automation, location-based services and smart city infrastructure.

Future updates to the standard will see its range increase by up to four times beyond the current maximum of around 20-30 metres, delivering more robust connections for larger, full-building environments.

Its speed will also be doubled to around 2Mbps, to enable faster data transfers in critical applications, such as medical devices.

The Bluetooth SIG also plans to introduce the ability to use Bluetooth to build mesh networks, meaning more devices or sensors can connect together across a wider area – currently it can only connect seven devices to one master device.

Bluetooth SIG chairman Toby Nixon said the working group was already seeing significant demand from its 27,500-strong member community and the wider industry to dramatically enhance the protocol.

“Current projections put the market potential for the IoT between $2tn and $11.1tn by 2025. The technical updates planned for Bluetooth technology in 2016 will help make these expectations a reality and accelerate growth in the IoT,” he said.

“The Bluetooth technology roadmap is a powerful expression of our mission to continue as a catalyst for industry innovation,” added executive director Mark Powell.

“Bluetooth has been adopted by countless developers and manufacturers as their connectivity solution of choice for the IoT. The new functionality we will soon be adding will further solidify Bluetooth as the backbone of IoT technology.”

The Bluetooth SIG will also update a number of member tools, including its developer studio, and training programmes to help garner wider support for – and awareness of – the use of Bluetooth in IoT systems.

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