Mesh Networking is finally coming to Bluetooth as a formally ratified, interoperability- tested global standard, allowing Bluetooth proponents to target a whole new machine-to-machine, industrial Internet of Things (IoT) market that they haven’t been able to crack yet.
Ken Kolderup, vice president of marketing at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), told EE Times the new standard will allow its member companies to “rally and grow their business around such new markets as commercial building automation.”
Bluetooth Mesh is an “industrial-strength” mesh networking technology ideal for commercial building and factory automation, Kolderup explained. It leverages a level of “reliability, scalability and security that aren’t made available by competing mesh technologies,” he added.
Lee Ratliff, senior principal analyst for connectivity and IoT at IHS Markit, called the SIG’s move for Bluetooth Mesh “very significant in the long run.”
Although cautioning that “it might take a while for Bluetooth Mesh to find its legs,” Ratliff sees a clear advantage in Bluetooth’s new standard particularly in “many of the most attractive markets — lighting, automation, security, asset tracking, location, etc.”
“Up until now, Bluetooth has been a point-to-point connectivity technology that has required a mobile device and by extension, a person,” Ratliff explained. “Mesh enables Bluetooth to tackle IoT applications which involve distributed smart systems which must operate with or without a person in the loop.” The result, finally, for Bluetooth is “a necessary capability to address much of the IoT” market.
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