It looks like the next iteration of the Bluetooth standard, Bluetooth 4.1, will bring devices featuring the technology closer to the 'Internet of things,' as they'll be able to connect directly with the Internet.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), on Wednesday, announced
the adoption of updates to the Bluetooth Core Specification.
As per the group, Bluetooth 4.1 will improve consumer usability with 'increased co-existence support for LTE (4G), bulk data exchange rates, and aid developer innovation by allowing devices to support multiple roles simultaneously.'
It also paves the way for IP-based (Internet Protocol) connections, allowing Bluetooth technology enabled devices to act as the essential wireless link for the 'Internet of things.'
This means that Bluetooth devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches will be able to get data from offsite temperature or oxygen sensors, that can in turn share it with smartphones and tablets.
The Bluetooth 4.1 standard will be able to work seamlessly and cooperatively with latest generation cellular technologies like LTE, reducing the possibility of interference, as per the Bluetooth SIG.
It will also offer device manufacturers more control over creating and maintaining Bluetooth connections by making the reconnection time interval flexible and variable. This means that if a consumer leaves the room, upon returning, two recently-used devices reconnect automatically.
The new standard also specifies improved data transfer speed. This means that sensors, which gathered data during a run, bike ride or swim, would be able to transfer that data more efficiently when the consumer returns home.
Bluetooth 4.1 also extends the Bluetooth Smart development environment by offering developers with even more flexibility to create products that can perform multiple roles. A single device can act as both a Bluetooth Smart peripheral and a Bluetooth Smart Ready hub at the same time.
The foundation iterates this with an example of a smartwatch that can act as a hub gathering information from a Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor, while simultaneously acting as a peripheral to a smartphone, displaying new message notifications from the phone.
"Bluetooth Smart technology put us on a rocket ship of growth, with Bluetooth annual product shipment projections skyrocketing to more than 4.5 billion in the next five years," said Suke Jawanda, Bluetooth SIG CMO. "We updated the Bluetooth specification to address this projected growth, making changes to give developers more control in assigning a role to their product, limiting interference with other wireless technologies, and allowing Bluetooth Smart products to exchange data faster and maintain connections with less manual intervention. These updates reflect the demand we see in the market. We will continue to sculpt Bluetooth wireless technology to extend its critical role in enabling the Internet of Things and ensure it is the very best solution for OEMs, developers and, ultimately, consumers."
The Bluetooth 4.1 standard is essentially a software update, so existing Bluetooth enabled devices can be updated by just deploying it.