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Date: 28-02-17

Bluetooth 5, a new market enabler for semiconductor and electronics cos

Bluetooth is nearly becoming a critical wireless protocol for IoT and wearables, now it gets further boosted with the launch of Bluetooth 5, where the range  and speed are increased, expanding the application horizon of Bluetooth in mutiple applications including IoT. The number of Bluetooth products in the market is expected to reach 10 billion with in next 12 to 18 months. One third of IOT devices in the market have Bluetooth radio.

Let's look at what all the new Bluetooth 5 offers:

Now the ranges expanded from normally within your room to within the building, now you can use a Bluetooth 5 communication up to 120 metres but at a lower data rate compared to short-range.

The data speed is also doubled to a speed of 2 Mb per second.

Beacons are emerging as new market opportunity, where the Bluetooth 5 supports data messaging up to 256 bytes which can carry a complete URL.  Any such connectionless services can leverage Bluetooth 5 specs for improved operation. Bluetooth S I G, the creator of Bluetooth specs says the new specs increase the capacity of connectionless data broadcasts by 800%. Beacons and such a location-based services helps users to navigate urban jungles, track material resources, respond to emergencies. The seamless information flow is enhancing between Bluetooth devices through Bluetooth 5 specs.

The meshing is another interesting feature in Bluetooth 5 supporting smart-home kind of applications, where multiple home appliances and devices need to be controlled from single mobile device.  With the Bluetooth 5, IOT designers can save multiple device communication systems from having hubs,  Bridges and any such communication bridging hardware. Mesh networking feature is backward compatible to Bluetooth 4.0. The mesh protocol is part of Bluetooth low energy and ride over this. Thousands of devices can be attached to mesh network.

Bluetooth is steadily expanding into areas of both Zigbee and WiFi. With the BLE getting into Zigbee and Bluetooth 5 eats into WiFi area.

Some of the Bluetooth 5 Supporting latest semiconductor devices include nRF52840 SoC from Nordic Semiconductor, the new SimpleLink CC2640R2F, CC2640R2F-Q1 wireless MCU from Texas Instruments. RSL10 from ON Semiconductor is a flexible and miniature multi-protocol Bluetooth 5 certified radio System-on-Chip (SoC).

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