The Bluetooth 5 specification, published today by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, paves the way toward new and exciting destinations on the information superhighway. In particular, the spec targets the Internet of Things with improvements to range, speed, security, and capacity.
The Bluetooth SIG first revealed Bluetooth 5 earlier this year. The updated wireless technology will improve how devices talk to one another and open up new avenues for developers. Specifically, Bluetooth 5 boasts four times greater range, two times better speed, and eight times better message capaciy. This means Bluetooth can cover entire homes and/or buildings with stronger signal. The speed improvements will allow for more responsive applications, while the improved broadcast message size means apps can share more contextually relevant data.
"Bluetooth is revolutionizing how people experience the IoT. Bluetooth 5 continues to drive this revolution by delivering reliable IoT connections and mobilizing the adoption of beacons, which in turn will decrease connection barriers and enable a seamless IoT experience." said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. "
"This means whole building coverage, as well as new use cases for outdoor, industrial, and commercial applications will be a reality. With the launch of Bluetooth 5, we continue to evolve to meet the needs of IoT developers and consumers while staying true to what Bluetooth is at its core: the global wireless standard for simple, secure, connectivity."
Beyond the speeds and feeds, Bluetooth 5 makes significant improvements with respect to interference. It is better able to scout out nearby signals and help reduce potential signal trouble. This will allow larger clusters of IoT devices to function properly while in proximity of one another. Bluetooth 5 is more power efficient than ever, and can easily run on devices with batteries no larger than a coin. This spells freedom and increased smarts for more bits of hardware. In large, Bluetooth 5 strips away many of the limitations that may have kept some from adopting the short-range wireless technology.
Bluetooth 5 is available for download from the Bluetooth SIG website. The download includes the core specification, services, protocols, profiles, and transports, complete with documentation. The Bluetooth SIG spells out testing requirements, too.
The Bluetooth SIG said it expects to see the first wave of Bluetooth 5 products reach the market within two to six months. It is up to hardware and software developers to voluntarily adopt the newest specification. Expect it to be added to smartphones, accessories, healthcare products, and IoT gear first.