SAN JOSE, Calif. — Move over Zigbee and 802.15.4, Bluetooth is moving into the Internet of Things and its bringing a few friends. That was the big message I took away from my brief stop at Bluetooth World here.
The big news at Bluetooth World was mesh technology is on the way for Bluetooth. CSR demonstrated here the Bluetooth mesh it announced in February, connecting a handful of colored lights, indicating its focus on home automation (below).
The technology supports up to 65,000 nodes on a network and multiple interconnected nets, said Robin Heydon, a fellow at CSR. It supports 255 hops per link and is compatible with Bluetooth 4.1 but does not run at the full Mbit/second data rate.
CSR will release this month a developer's kit for its Bluetooth mesh. The firmware will be available mid-year running on CSR's chips.
The company will donate the code to the Bluetooth SIG sometime in the second half of the year. Heydon said he expects the group's automation committee will lead the charge and could have a version available as a Bluetooth profile for other chip makers within six months.
Mesh support has been a big missing piece for Bluetooth in a wide variety of IoT applications from the home to the factory floor and beyond. But it remains to be seen whether the SIG adopts the CSR technology and if so, when.
Meanwhile the Bluetooth SIG is discussing a 2 Mbit/s spec as well as a version for hearing aids that supports audio streaming over Bluetooth LE. Both projects could take as long as two years to come to fruition, said Heydon.
I saw plenty of other advances in Bluetooth chips, applications and beyond at Bluetooth World. Click through the following pages for a virtual tour of the event.
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