Bluetooth is about to get twice as fast

12 Nov 2015

Bluetooth – the wireless glue that keeps all our wireless devices in sync – is about to be given its first major overhaul in five years.

Bluetooth – the wireless glue that keeps all our wearables and mobile devices in sync – is about to be given its first major overhaul in five years and by 2016 will be twice as fast and will have four times the range.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has revealed its 2016 roadmap and wants to put Bluetooth at the heart of the internet of things (IoT) revolution.

Key updates include longer range, higher speeds and the capacity for mesh networking.

‘Current projections put the market potential for IoT between $2 and $11.1 trillion by 2025’

Updates will provide a variety of benefits for the growing number of IoT applications. For example, the range of Bluetooth Smart, set to increase up to fourfold, will transform smart home and infrastructure applications and will deliver an extended, more robust connection for full-home or outdoor use cases.

A 100pc increase in speed, without increasing energy consumption, will enable faster data transfers in critical applications, such as medical devices, increasing responsiveness and lowering latency. And mesh networking will enable Bluetooth devices to connect together in networks that can cover an entire building or home, opening up home and industrial automation applications.

“There is significant demand from our members and the industry at large to enhance Bluetooth with the new capabilities we’re announcing today,” said Toby Nixon, chairman of the Bluetooth SIG Board of Directors.

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

Technology roadmap for Bluetooth

Bluetooth SIG member tools, like the recently launched Bluetooth Developer Studio, and training programmes will be updated to ensure strong developer support for these new IoT features.

Additional features and profile updates contained in the 2016 roadmap will be previewed in the coming months.

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

“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.”

In related news, a Google doodle earlier this week celebrated 1940s Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, who with her colleague George Antheil worked throughout WWII to help the Allies develop a secret communications method using the frequency-hopping method to make it more difficult to intercept.

This exact same process is still used today in billions of devices, specifically in how Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled devices communicate.

Bluetooth image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years