The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced the adoption of Bluetooth low energy wireless technology, this will be the hallmark feature of the Bluetooth Core Specification Version 40. Bluetooth low energy wireless technology will feature ultra-low peak, average and idle mode power consumption, ability to run for years on standard coin-cell batteries, low cost, and enhanced range. Full details can be found at Bluetooth.
As an enhancement to the specification, Bluetooth low energy technology opens entirely new markets for devices requiring low cost and low power wireless connectivity with this evolution in Bluetooth wireless technology that will enable a plethora of new applications – some not even possible or imagined today. Many markets such as healthcare, sports and fitness, security, and home entertainment will be enhanced with the availability of small coin-cell battery powered wireless products and sensors now enabled by Bluetooth wireless technology.
“With today’s announcement the race is on for product designers to be the first to market,” said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director, Bluetooth SIG. “Bluetooth low energy modules for all sorts of new products may now be qualified – this is an important step towards our goal of enabling new markets with Bluetooth wireless technology. For example, the Continua Health Alliance has already selected Bluetooth low energy technology as a transport for the next version of its guidelines.”
“Today’s news from the Bluetooth SIG is an exciting step forward for technology in mobile health and wellness devices,” said Rick Cnossen, president and board chair, Continua Health Alliance. “Our selection of Bluetooth low energy for the Continua Version Two Design Guidelines extends exciting new capabilities to manufacturers and consumers alike, as well as enabling additional use cases within the Continua ecosystem."
“Nokia has been committed to this ultra low power wireless technology since its Wibree technology development. Now we are happy to see the adoption of the Bluetooth low energy specification, which will open up new market opportunities and space to innovate for the industry. The wide manufacturer base behind Bluetooth low energy technology and the combined industry effort will result in exciting new user experiences in the mobile space,” said Markku Verkama, Director, Devices R&D Nokia.
This enhancement to the Bluetooth Core Specification allows two types of implementation, dual-mode and single-mode. In a dual-mode implementation, Bluetooth low energy functionality is integrated into an existing Classic Bluetooth controller. The resulting architecture shares much of Classic Bluetooth technology’s existing radio and functionality resulting in a minimal cost increase compared to Classic Bluetooth technology. Additionally, manufacturers can use current Classic Bluetooth technology (Bluetooth V2.1 + EDR or Bluetooth V3.0 + HS) chips with the new low energy stack, enhancing the development of Classic Bluetooth enabled devices with new capabilities.
Single-mode chips, which will enable highly integrated and compact devices, will feature a lightweight Link Layer providing ultra-low power idle mode operation, simple device discovery, and reliable point-to-multipoint data transfer with advanced power-save and secure encrypted connections at the lowest possible cost. The Link Layer in these controllers will enable Internet connected sensors to schedule Bluetooth low energy traffic between Bluetooth transmissions.