Post the release of Bluetooth 4.2 a couple years ago, the widely used wireless tech is finally getting a much-needed upgrade. The Bluetooth Interest Group has today officially adopted Bluetooth 5 as the next-gen wireless platform and cleared the way for manufacturers to use the tech in their devices.
Major improvements to this new wireless technology include a longer range, faster speed, and larger broadcast message capacity. Talking about specifics, the data transfer speeds have increased two-fold whereas the range has grown four times. Also, you can use Bluetooth 5 to send eight times more data using broadcast messages. This comparison is based off the widely used and existing Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology.
Bluetooth 5 also improves interoperability and coexistence with other wireless technologies. With the reduction in potential interference, these devices can better adapt and co-exist within the increasingly complex IoT environment. Commenting on the release, Mark Powell, Executive Director of the Bluetooth SIG, says,
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.
This increment in basic specifications will be immensely helpful for IoT and smart home devices, required to accommodate the needs of a whole building or a home at once. It could also prove to be useful for further improvements in wearables, especially smartwatches, which are losing market due to slow connection speeds (and upgrades). Bluetooth 5 can also be used in a variety of settings – outdoor, industrial, and commercial environments.
This means whole-home and 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.
Though the wireless technology has been released, one shouldn’t expect to see Bluetooth 5-equipped devices for the next 2-6 months. The better connectivity options could debut in the coming wave of smartphones, including the Galaxy S8, the next Apple iPhone and the hoard of other Android smartphones. Same will be the case with the IoT device ecosystem.