The Rise of Bluetooth & Interconnected Devices
Bluetooth has always been utilized as a way for electronic devices to connect over short distances. As many will testify, it facilitates this job with varying success at times—for example, how often has a “pairing failed” when trying to connect to another device using Bluetooth. However, this method for wirelessly connecting devices in a short-range network still has a role to play, particularly as we move into the era of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Despite it’s teething problems since being unveiled in 1999 as a wireless radio communications technology, Bluetooth, which is said to take it’s name from the Danish King Harald Bluetooth, is becoming the de facto means for connecting consumer electronic devices in wireless networks. As wearable devices become a viable resource for people, the means for connecting them to larger communications network is via a Bluetooth link-up. Wearable devices now include fitness trackers, home heating systems and even toothbrushes. Over the last fifteen years or so, Bluetooth has been developed in conjunction with consumer electronic devices to become a much more viable technology.
Responsible for this development is a nonprofit called the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which currently has 24,000 companies in its membership. This group allows any company to use Bluetooth so long as they comply with their requested specifications. The people within the Bluetooth group who are responsible for designating these specifications recently sanctioned an expansion of the technology to include a whole array of new devices besides earpieces and hands-free kits. This was done so that it could be used as the integral technology for connecting our devices in the home as part of the smaller networks, which will collectively make up the Internet of Things.
This latest upgrade is known as “Bluetooth Smart,” and is designed to be used for extremely fast communications over relatively short distances. The spokesman for the Bluetooth Special interest group, Suke Jawanda, claims that we are just now starting to see the technology fulfill its potential as it facilitates the ever growing interconnectedness of consumer electronics. Jawanda even went so far as to call it the “killer enabler” of interconnected consumer technologies.
Bluetooth Smart has been around since 2010, but now it is starting to appear in a growing litany of devices. This growth can be attributed by the latest versions’ improved power efficiency—remember how the initial installation of Bluetooth used to drain your battery? With Bluetooth Smart, this is no longer the case.
Competition to Bluetooth Smart comes from Wi-Fi Direct, which lets devices be connected without the intermediary of the wireless router. Both face challenges that are synonymous with wireless networks such as range, obstacles and other interferences. Therefore, it is inevitable that our world will become one of constant communications between devices.