Bluetooth to get more power, range and speed for IoT devices
Bluetooth and ZigBee to dominate wireless IoT connectivity

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has released its 2016 technology roadmap which details planned improvements for using the communication protocol on IoT devices.

The roadmap details a number of planned enhancements for the technology, many which are “focused squarely on increasing its Internet of Things (IoT) functionality.”

Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) is seen by many as the future of IoT, giving it is able to run for long periods on power sources like coin cell batteries or energy-harvesting devices.

Key updates include longer range, higher speeds and mesh networking. The host of Bluetooth advancements coming in 2016 will further energize fast-growing industries such as smart home, industrial automation, location-based services and smart infrastructure.

“There is significant demand from our members and the industry at large to enhance Bluetooth with the new capabilities we’re announcing today,” said Toby Nixon, chairman of the Bluetooth SIG Board of Directors.

“Current projections put the market potential for IoT between $2 and $11.1 trillion by 2025. The technical updates planned for Bluetooth technology in 2016 will help make these expectations a reality and accelerate growth in IoT.”

Announced updates will provide a variety of benefits for the growing number of IoT applications. For example, the range of Bluetooth Smart, set to increase up to four-fold, will transform smart home and infrastructure applications, and will deliver an extended, more robust connection for full-home or outdoor use cases.

A 100 percent increase in speed, without increasing energy consumption, will enable faster data transfers in critical applications, such as on IoT medical devices, increasing responsiveness and lowering latency. Mesh networking will enable Bluetooth devices to connect together in networks that can cover an entire building or home, opening up home and industrial automation applications.

“The Bluetooth technology roadmap is a powerful expression of our mission to continue as a catalyst for industry innovation,” said Mark Powell, executive director, Bluetooth SIG. “Bluetooth has been adopted by countless developers and manufacturers as their connectivity solution of choice for the IoT. The new functionality we will soon be adding will further solidify Bluetooth as the backbone of IoT technology.”

Bluetooth SIG member tools, like the recently launched Bluetooth Developer Studio, and training programs will be updated to ensure strong developer support for these new IoT features. Additional features and profile updates contained in the 2016 roadmap will be previewed in the coming months.