Bluetooth 5 breaks connectivity barriers

The Bluetooth® that has connected much of your life is transforming. No longer is it simply a personal network for listening to music wirelessly or talking on the phone a few feet from your device.

Bluetooth 5 breaks connectivity barriersEnter Bluetooth 5. With standards developed through a global body that included representatives from our company, the technology will radically improve wireless connectivity for applications ranging from building automation to industrial controls.

“The limit is our imagination,” said Olivier Monnier, marketing and business manager for smart connectivity solutions. “The Bluetooth 5 standard is breaking the status quo.”

Designers can start designing Bluetooth 5 products today. We are the now the first company to release fully qualified Bluetooth 5 software, creating opportunities for companies to get products to market fast by integrating it with our SimpleLink™ wireless microcontroller technology. This powerful system enables connections with four times the range, twice the speed and an 800 percent increase in data capacity.

“Customers can use our hardware and software, develop their applications and move to production now,” Olivier said.

This advanced capability will shift Bluetooth’s focus from personal electronics such as audio players and sports watches to more demanding uses such as industrial motors and home networks.

Extending networks

The Bluetooth standard – one of several wireless connectivity technologies that also include near-field communication, Wi-Fi® and Sub-1 GHz networks – has become a popular way to connect devices at short distances. But previous Bluetooth standards have natural challenges. Applications keep asking for lower power. The amount of data that can be transmitted is limited. Connections have to be nearby.

Bluetooth 5 offers groundbreaking improvements in each of those areas. Its improved low-energy capabilities provide longer battery life. The range extends up to one-and-a-half kilometers – almost a mile. Large amounts of data can be sent over the wireless connection.

Enormous opportunities

Bluetooth 5 breaks connectivity barriersThose improvements will create enormous opportunities in a wide variety of applications, including building automation, home networks, patient monitors and other medical uses, asset tracking, and industrial sensor networks and motor drives.

“People want to use the technology in your hand – smart phones and tablets – for more applications than they have in the past,” Olivier said. “They want to expand the scope from personal-area networks to house coverage, to monitor sensors in a building, to control lighting or a gateway.

“Those who work in industrial environments care about maintenance, noise and vibration,” he said. “Is the motor working well or will it fail soon? A connection with a tablet or smart phone could quickly provide information about the health of a motor and whether it needs to be serviced. Bluetooth 5 will break down barriers and open opportunities for new innovations in industrial settings.”

Bluetooth 5 also will enhance applications such as beacon technologies that provide direction in urban settings for people who are blind, for travelers trying to find their gates at major airports, or even for fans ordering food at sports stadiums. Utility companies will be able to extract more information about energy use from electric meters without redesigning the meters. Smoke detectors will be able to tell a smart phone or tablet when the battery needs to be replaced.

“Bluetooth 5 represents a fundamental change in how this technology is being used,” Olivier said. “The market is ready for it. People are eager.”

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