The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) on Thursday officially unveiled the next major revision of the global wireless standard, Bluetooth 5. To say that it’ll be far more useful is a massive understatement.
Set to arrive by the end of the year (or in early 2017 at the latest), the new standard will double the speed and quadruple the range of low energy connections while increasing the capacity of connectionless data broadcasts by 800 percent. That last bit will be especially important to the millions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are expected to flood the market in the coming years.
Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, said there are 8.2 billion Bluetooth products in use today. The enhancements in Bluetooth 5 and planned future technical advancements, he added, means that Bluetooth will be in more than a third of all installed IoT devices by 2020.
The Bluetooth SIG also revealed that it now has more than 30,000 member companies that use its technology.
For better or for worse, Bluetooth 5 will make things like beacons even more prevalent. Patrick Connolly, principal analyst at ABI Research, notes that more than 370 million Bluetooth-enabled beacons are projected to ship by 2020. Odds are, many of those will likely be used by retail stores as part of advertising campaigns.
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