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Bluetooth 5 standard brings range, speed and capacity boost for IoT

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has announced the forthcoming Bluetooth 5 standard, promising significant improvements to support an accessible and interoperable internet of things

The next iteration of the Bluetooth standard, Bluetooth 5, will boast quadruple the range, double the speed, and an eight-fold increase in data broadcasting capacity, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

The upcoming release, scheduled for late 2016 or early 2017, has been designed specifically to deliver better support for the internet of things (IoT), making sensor networks more accessible, robust and reliable.

The Bluetooth SIG said the range increase would make full-building and outdoor IoT use cases a reality, while higher speeds will support faster data transfer and improve responsiveness in dynamic situations.

The capacity boost will enable the IoT to generate richer and more intelligent data, propelling a new generation of ‘connectionless’ IoT services – where there is less need to download an app, or connect the app to a device.

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

“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,” he added.

ABI Research principal analyst Patrick Connolly predicted that more than 371 million Bluetooth-enabled beacons would ship by the end of the decade, propelling the adoption of beacon and location-based services in home automation, enterprise and industrial markets.

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Meanwhile, the Bluetooth SIG recently announced the addition of its 30,000th member company, having seen an 11% growth in membership in the past six months alone.

Startup Blossom Group is developing infrasound and low-frequency noise-relaxation products, which the SIG said indicated the growth of the IoT in consumer as well as industrial and enterprise settings.

“Implementing Bluetooth as our wireless technology and joining the SIG organisation was the obvious choice to ensure our products’ success,” said Blossom Group CEO and co-founder Luke Sanger.

“Bluetooth has the ubiquity of a trusted wireless communication platform, and a great history of supporting market trends and working with developers and members to produce ground-breaking products and applications.”

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A really important advance that we all knew was coming - eventually. Everyone here is just gobsmacked by the speed of these technology advances. "Advanced" being a bit of an inside joke, of course. We all know that today's whiz-bang cutting edge advancement is going to be obsolete tomorrow.
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