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Bluetooth 5 promises double speed boost for IoT

The latest version of Bluetooth is faster, longer, better, stronger…

city at night

A new, more powerful version of Bluetooth is in the pipeline and promises a range of enhancements for mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Devices running Bluetooth 5 are due late 2016 to early 2017, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) revealed on its website.

The latest version will have four times the range and double the speed of previous versions, and there will also be an 800 per cent increase in data broadcasting capacity over Bluetooth 4.

The Bluetooth SIG promised that the enhancements will not use up any extra battery power, claiming that alongside the increase in messaging capacity, the data being transferred will be "richer, more intelligent".

This will change the way Bluetooth devices transmit information, "moving away from the app-paired-to-device model to a connectionless IoT 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 Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

"Increasing operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices. And now with the ability to broadcast a much richer set of information, Bluetooth 5 will make beacons, location awareness, and other connectionless services an even more relevant part of an effortless and seamless IoT experience."

More than 371 million Bluetooth-enabled beacons are projected to ship by 2020, according to Patrick Connolly, principal analyst at ABI Research. He said that the new standard would further propel the adoption and deployment of beacons and location-based services in the home automation, enterprise, and industrial markets.

In scenarios where contextual awareness like navigation and pin-point location are crucial such as airport navigation experiences, tracking warehouse inventory, and emergency response Bluetooth 5 could send custom information people actually find useful in that moment without connection and application barriers.

"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. The drive and innovation of Bluetooth will ensure our technology continues to be the IoT solution of choice for all developers," said Powell.

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