Bluetooth 5 is setting the stage for the future.
ABI research is predicting a record growth for IoT devices from 2017 to 2021, and Bluetooth 5 will play a major role. Bluetooth 5 is just around the corner for consumers and is already available to developers, engineers and manufacturers.
Main reasons why Bluetooth 5 is considered a major player in the future of IoT:
1. Ubiquity – it’s built into most smartphones, tablets and computers
The residential IoT sector is still very open as of early 2017, “because most people haven’t started buying things like connected thermostats and door locks”, ABI Research analyst Avi Greengart said.
Bluetooth starts out with a major advantage over its competition by having its technology and capabilities built right into most smartphones, tablets and computers. Others like ZigBee and Z-Wave, most of the time, are not.
“It’s easy to predict that within two to three years, pretty much every phone will have Bluetooth 5 […] Sometimes ubiquity is the most important part of a standard.”
Avi Greengart, ABI Research
2. Speed & Range – 4x the range and 2x the speed of Bluetooth 4
This means an improved coverage indoors while requiring less hardware configurations and devices. Smart buildings, smart homes and energy management solutions will all benefit from better data transfer capabilities and consumers will see a higher value at a more affordable price.
New use cases are now also possible for outdoor, industrial and commercial applications (drones, cameras, smart city, etc.)
Another aspect is that Bluetooth 5 will now allow some applications (indoor navigation, asset tracking, etc.) to be connectionless (data is sent without requiring a handshake) and significantly increase speed and efficiency.
3. Mesh Networking – Unlimited range and network reliability
Bluetooth 5 Mesh will be introduced mid-2017 and will be supported on all devices ready for Bluetooth 5. The main advantage about Mesh networking is that it doesn’t require additional access points or routers to extend the range. The new device (called a mesh “node”) will be automatically added to the mesh network and ready to receive and transmit data as needed.
Another important advantage of Bluetooth 5 Mesh is that it won’t require any special “Central Hub” or controller, which means there is no single point of failure in the network, making it highly reliable and resilient, while also reducing the overall cost. It also won’t require a professional installer to setup a smart home.