Bluetooth is about to become even more useful. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has officially adopted the Bluetooth 5 specification. Its action means that device makers can start to implement the communications technology confident that it will work with other Bluetooth enabled devices. Bluetooth 5 brings a lot of advances to the wireless standard with up to 4x the range, 2x the speed, and 8x broadcast message capacity. Another important tweak provides improved interoperability and coexistence with other wireless technologies.
The longer range will be very welcome to many that have used Bluetooth previously. It promises 'whole building coverage' which will help you stay connected as you go around your house. The range increase will have benefits to IoT appliances throughout your house, which should be able to be within range of each other in all but the largest homes. Outdoor and industrial applications will also benefit from the increased range.
Another welcome shot in the arm coming with Bluetooth 5 is the speed. Doubling the speed is a worthwhile improvement, especially while "maintaining low-power consumption". Anyone who has transferred more than the odd photo will appreciate the extra speed. Furthermore, speed of transfer can be a priority for medical devices and security systems, says the Bluetooth SIG.
In the intro Bluetooth 5's 8x broadcast message capacity was trumpeted. The SIG suggests the extra capacity available will "redefine the way information is sent" as it allows for richer, more intelligent data transfers to 'connectionless' devices such as beacons and so on.
It is hoped that Bluetooth 5 will propel the adoption of Bluetooth further. ABI Research predicts 48 billion internet-enabled devices to be installed by 2021, of which nearly one-third will include Bluetooth. The introduction of Bluetooth 5 "will create new opportunities… by reducing complexity and cost and giving manufacturers greater flexibility," reckons analyst Andrew Zignani of ABI Research.
The first consumer devices with Bluetooth 5 on board are expected to start shipping from February onwards.