Bluetooth Low Energy: Enabling The Internet of Things
ENERGY: ENABLING THE
INTERNET OF THINGS
BY BARTLEY GILLAN, HARDWARE, CHAOTIC MOON LABS
DEVICE MARKET HAS
EXPLODED SUCH THAT
MOST EVERY NEW
GADGET IS EXPECTED
TO LEVERAGE THE
POWER OF OUR
emember when Bluetooth was
nothing more than oddly shaped
hunks of plastic sticking out of
people’s ears? Flash forward a
decade and Bluetooth is still enabling conversations, though these days it’s
between devices and the world around them.
Bluetooth has always had the ability to extend
our phone’s capabilities to other devices, but
that traditionally was limited to hands-free
phone systems and music playback. The past
couple of years, however, has seen the introduction of smartphones that support Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth
Smart, if you prefer.) This has enabled an explosion of connected devices that exchange
small amounts of data via Bluetooth Low Energy connections.
How did this happen? Well, several significant
changes in the Bluetooth 4.0 ecosystem have
made it much easier to bring smartphone
connected devices to market. Historically, if
a device manufacturer wanted to create an
iPhone appcessory — a connected hardware
device that communicates with an iPhone
app — they had to apply for access to Apple’s
Made for iPhone program. If approved, the
manufacturer could then gain access to the
accessory documentation and order Apple
authentication chips that let their devices to
connect with an iPhone (but not without signing a strict NDA first).
With the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy in the iPhone 4, Apple dropped their
walled-garden approach to accessories and
embraced the full potential of the Bluetooth
Low Energy spec. This allowed many appces-
sories to work with iOS devices quicker and
at lower cost than before. Unfortunately, appcessory manufacturers have only recently
been able to offer Android device compatibility, as Android waited until 4.3 to provide
built-in Bluetooth Low Energy support.
As its monicker implies, Bluetooth Low Energy has significantly decreased power consumption. This enables lost-and-found Bluetooth-compatible tags like Chipolo to operate
on a disposable coin-cell battery for up to a
year, making battery charging or replacement an infrequent nuisance.
Another way Bluetooth Low Energy stands
apart from older Bluetooth implementations
is how easy it is to pair devices. Gone are the
days of having to manually pair devices, entering passcodes and being unable to pair
more than one device at a time. Today, Bluetooth allows smartphone apps to exchange
data with devices passively in the background
— and to communicate with more than one
compatible device simultaneously. Apple’s
recent introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy
location devices, or iBeacons, is one such example of this new ease of connectivity.
The connected device market has exploded
such that most every new gadget is expected
to leverage the power of our smartphones,
and Bluetooth Low Energy is what makes
that happen. Wearable activity trackers, lostand-found tags, and door locks are just the
beginning of the new wave of technology enabled by Bluetooth. Thanks to Bluetooth Low
Energy, you can soon expect the “things” in
Internet of Things to be plentiful.
THE INTERNET OF THINGS... SO FAR.
MY FAVORITE BLUETOOTH-COMPATIBLE PRODUCTS:
Solves the problem of lost
items with trackable tags that
sound off when misplaced.
Meaningfully tracks a user’s activities, giving them the info they
need to create healthy habits .
Simplifies payments like no
other digital wallet has — by
storing multiple cards within a
single, swipeable card.
Turns iPhones into keys
that unlock digital deadbolts with a quick touch.
CALL US TODAY.
Chaotic Moon is 90+ of the most talented thinkers, designers and engineers the world has ever known. Our dreamers and doers
are hell-bent on changing the world through better experience design. Through talent, expertise and sheer brute force, we
transform bold ideas into the world’s best software products.
319 Congress Ave. Suite 200 Austin, TX 78701