Bluetooth SIG launched its new Bluetooth 5 technology. Bluetooth 5 Specifications higher speed, longer range, and bandwidth of connections between IoT devices.
Increased range and speed will streamline connections between a network of devices, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT). As “smart” devices become ubiquitous, households and businesses are becoming increasingly wirelessly interconnected, providing new applications for improved IoT technology like Bluetooth 5. Higher-bandwidth connections will enhance Bluetooth utility in location services.
Bluetooth 5 software is currently available for download online. However, consumers will have to wait at least a couple months for devices equipped with new Bluetooth 5-compatible hardware. In order to be compatible with the new software, devices need a new Bluetooth 5 chip.
Where does Bluetooth 5 come from?
Bluetooth technology is essentially a tiny radio transmitter embedded in an electronic device. Combined with software installed on the device, it allows computers, smartphones, printers, and other gadgets to “talk” to each other. While the technology allows direct communication between two devices, it cannot transmit information directly between multiple devices. Transmits information and data between devices using minimal energy.
It first appeared in the mid-1990’s, as a means to connect cell phones to hands-free headsets (Remember those people who looked like they were talking to themselves?). Since then it has become popular for a range of uses, such as connecting mobile phones to wristwatches. Bluetooth technology has increasing promise due to the growth of the Internet of Things, and growing demand for low-power data transmission technology. A new version was released in 2014, and this latest upgrade aims to tap into increased demand for IoT technology.
The technology is named for Blåtand, the tenth-century king famous for uniting the tribes of Denmark. By using the English translation of his name, creators hoped to invoke the idea of unification.
Bluetooth 5 specifications
According to Bluetooth SIG, the new technology boasts doubled speed, quadrupled range, and eight times the bandwidth of its predecessor. The new technology is available to transmit data at up to 300 meters. It also cuts energy use in two. Bluetooth’s low energy use makes it ideal for connecting portable and household devices.
While speed, range, and bandwidth will be improved, the technology does not boast any major improvements in audio quality. Bluetooth 4.2 made major improvements in security, but Bluetooth 5 has not provided additional protection.
Bluetooth 5 technology to streamline IoT Devices
Faster, longer-range connections will enhance networking between devices. New Bluetooth 5-enabled devices will be part of a more complex, broader-range IoT. The technology could potentially connect devices throughout a house or office building, a far broader range than was previously possible.
Bluetooth 5 also boasts reduced interference with other technologies used for data transmissions, such as WiFi and cellular data networks. Bluetooth SIG advertises that the new generation of Bluetooth will facilitate wireless connections without the use of an application, making Bluetooth-enabled devices simpler to use. Users will no longer need to download a specific app to connect two devices, but will instead be able to rely on built-in Bluetooth features.
Wider-range connections could streamline everyday tasks, allowing homeowners to connect networks of laptops, speakers, and television monitors. Home devices such as remote-control thermostats and door locks could also be available to connect to a home IoT. This would enable easy control of household tasks. Users could control a thermostat located on a different floor, or open a door from the driveway.
The new technology also has the potential to enhance applications in the classroom or office. Quickly connecting to devices such as printers, monitors, and projectors can be a major organizational hassle. (Remember when that HDMI cable went missing five minutes before your big presentation?) Users could potentially send files to a printer or projector from anywhere in the building, controlling media use with increased ease. As more IoT devices become available, presenters will be able to project media from a range of devices, including smartphones.
Increased Bandwidth to Enhance Location Services
Bluetooth 5 will be able to transmit more data, allowing for a broader range of information to travel between devices. This could be useful in devices providing location services, allowing devices to pinpoint the location of objects within buildings. Bluetooth SIG is marketing the new technology for industrial use as well as everyday use. For example, the industries can use it to locate personnel and merchandise within a building. They suggest possible uses in warehouses, airports, and emergency services.
Improved location data could also be useful for wireless location beacons, used by businesses to track the movement of customers. These tiny devices contain information or directions for customers, who can easily scan and read them with a smartphone. Business owners can adhere them to merchandise and brochures, allowing them to monitor traffic in restaurants, museums, and shops. The beacons can also be used to create interactive marketing schemes or to streamline museum guides.
On the flip side, increased bandwidth could also pose a security risk. It would allow advertisers to take advantage of a tactic called connectionless broadcasting. Advertisers can use their Bluetooth devices to send information to nearby devices, regardless of whether or not they are connected. This advertising technique can compromise device owners’ privacy and allow device tracking.
Other changes in Bluetooth 5
The latest version of Bluetooth eliminates Bluetooth park mode, a “sleep”-like the feature that allows connected devices to save power by limiting transmissions. Developers cited interoperability problems with the feature. The new release also drops the v and the ‘.’ from the technology’s name; Bluetooth v.4.2 has become Bluetooth 5. The new name is designed to be easier to market.
The main things to know about Bluetooth 5
- It is faster than Bluetooth v.4.2. Music, pictures, and more will travel more quickly between devices.
- It has a wider range than Bluetooth v.4.2. IoT devices will be able to connect throughout a building, not just a room.
- It has more bandwidth than Bluetooth v.4.2. Devices will be able to transmit more data and more details.
- It fits into the IoT niche, allowing consumers to create networks of devices in their homes and offices.