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The days of helplessly waving your smartphone around could finally be over. Connectivity services like Bluetooth are essential to daily living due to the fact that most of our every day gadgets rely on them. Unfortunately, the technology is far from perfect. Sometimes it insists that your devices aren’t around even if the two are next to each other. Quickly toggling the option just makes the problem worse, usually resulting in a whirlwind of confusion.

After endless requests from users worldwide, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is finally doing something about the lack of functionality. “There is significant demand from our members and the industry at large to enhance Bluetooth with the new capabilities we’re announcing today. Current projections put the market potential for IoT (Internet of Things) between $2 trillion and $11.1 trillion by 2025,” explained Toby Nixon, chairman of the Bluetooth SIG Board of Directors. “The technical updates planned for Bluetooth technology in 2016 will help make these expectations a reality and accelerate growth in IoT.”

B1

Pushing the Limits of Bluetooth

Essentially, the highly anticipated updates are directed at boosting smart home appliances. However, this does not mean that other devices, such as headphones and wearables, are left to suffer with outdated services. The initial focus of the project is range. Machines using Bluetooth Smart will be able to interact with other gadgets up to four times longer. This also means the signal is more stable at closer ranges. Currently, a few feet could mean the difference between a slow file transfer and a fast one. With the upgrade in place, you could freely move around your devices without needing to worry about lag or disruptions.

Speed will also get an improvement of up to two times. Impressively, the group will make this possible without increasing energy consumption. For establishments that are hesitant to rely on the service due to its shortcomings, like hospitals and government offices, the roll out could force them to revisit the application of the service. Developer support and training programs will be made available to ensure a smooth transition.

B2

Mesh Networking

Many homes and businesses are preparing for the IoT era, which calls for reliable, around-the-clock connection. To accommodate the growing trend, people will be able to leverage mesh networking to boost the coverage of a selected area after the update. When used to its full potential, an entire building (think homes, schools or manufacturing warehouses) can connect to networks for seamless automation.

“The Bluetooth technology roadmap is a powerful expression of our mission to continue as a catalyst for industry innovation,” said Mark Powell, executive director, Bluetooth SIG. “Bluetooth has been adopted by countless developers and manufacturers as their connectivity solution of choice for the IoT. The new functionality we will soon be adding will further solidify Bluetooth as the backbone of IoT technology.”

The upgrade could not have come at a better time. With lights, door locks and blenders getting smart makeovers, the Bluetooth 2016 upgrade might be the support that everyone needs for a comfortable IoT experience.

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