Bluetooth will get its biggest overhaul since 2010 next year in order to cope with the ever-growing number of connected devices. A longer range, faster speeds, and even mesh networking look set to boost the capabilities of the wireless technology.
The Bluetooth special interest group (SIG), a membership-based organization that manages and develops Bluetooth standards, announced that its improvement plans are focused on increasing the technology’s Internet of Things (IoT) functionality.
“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.”
The group said it plans to increase the range of the low-energy Bluetooth Smart by up to four times its current limit of around 330 feet. Bluetooth speed will also increase by 100 percent without having an adverse effect on energy consumption, enabling faster data transfers and lowering latency. Furthermore, the addition of mesh networking will allow each Bluetooth device to use the wireless connection to form building-wide networks, rather than one-to-one links.
The SIG say that these updates are currently just a “technical roadmap,” but there will be more details and “additional features” announced over the coming months. The improvements could have a major impact on the increasing number of homes and businesses that use smart devices. "The new functionality we will soon be adding will further solidify Bluetooth as the backbone of IoT technology," said Mark Powell, executive director of the SIG.