The Bluetooth SIG kicked off the year with its 20th anniversary celebration, marking two decades of next-generation wireless innovation. Formed in 1998, the Bluetooth SIG started with a handful of companies focused on wire replacement for mobile voice and data. Today more than 33,000 member companies are part of an organization dedicated to perfecting and advancing a flexible, reliable, and secure wireless connection solution.

“Since its inception, Bluetooth® has continuously evolved, expanding the universe of innovative ways for things to connect,” said Mark Powell, executive director for Bluetooth SIG, Inc. “The Bluetooth connection is driving innovation and innovation creates major new markets. Whether it is connections for wireless audio, wearable devices, tracking assets, or automating buildings, Bluetooth has been—and will continue to be—the innovative force creating new consumer, commercial, and industrial markets.”

20 Years of Blue

For two decades, Bluetooth® technology has been creating connections that power innovations and establish new markets. “Over the last 20 years, Bluetooth has been pivotal in enabling compelling customer experiences. It has been one of the key technologies underpinning the consumer wireless revolution,” said Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research. “The Bluetooth community continues to grow and extend as the technology enhances its specification in order to retain its prominent position in future markets including the IoT.”

Before Bluetooth technology, the wireless audio and connected device markets did not exist. Now, nearly 4 billion Bluetooth devices are expected to ship in 2018 across a number of consumer, commercial, and industrial markets.

Phones, Tablets, and PCs

Phones, tablets, and PCs have become portals through which people experience every thing and every place. Bluetooth technology is the wireless constant in all of them, and the key to making IoT solutions accessible to everyone. 2.3 billion Bluetooth® phones, tablets, and PCs will ship in 2018.

“Bluetooth has been one of the key technologies underpinning the consumer wireless revolution.”

Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research

Audio and Entertainment

Bluetooth technology has forever changed the way we consume media and experience the world. Bluetooth® speakers will account for 66 percent of all speaker shipments this year, which is only a fraction of the 1.2 billion Bluetooth enabled audio and entertainment devices that will ship in 2018.

Automotive

Bluetooth® technology will come as standard in 86% of all new cars, trucks, and SUVs shipped in 2018. Bluetooth products have brought new levels of safety to our roads and more convenience to the in-car experience and are now enabling exciting new use cases that increase fuel efficiency, protect drivers from the effects of fatigue, and better connect cars and drivers to the cities around them.

Connected Device

Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE), introduced in 2010, is powering the connected device market, which is projected to ship 780 million Bluetooth enabled devices in 2018. By connecting billions of everyday devices and enabling the invention of countless more, Bluetooth technology is helping make the IoT vision a reality.

Smart Buildings

The 2017 release of Bluetooth mesh and recent advancements in Bluetooth® broadcasting make intelligent building automation at scale a reality. With whole-building coverage now a possibility, Bluetooth enabled solutions are expanding the definition of the smart building by enabling indoor positioning and location services that focus on enhancing the visitor experience, increasing occupant productivity, and optimizing space utilization. Seventy- five percent of the top 20 retailers have already deployed location services, and 815 million Bluetooth smart building devices are expected to ship in 2022.

“Bluetooth has been—and will continue to be—the innovative force creating new consumer, commercial, and industrial markets.”

Mark Powell, executive director for Bluetooth SIG, Inc.

Smart Industry

Bluetooth® technology is leading the convergence of industry and information that will pave the way for the next industrial revolution. Forecasts project a 10x growth in annual shipments of Bluetooth smart industry devices by 2022. These industrial solutions will connect critical components of a manufacturer’s value stream, keeping machines, people, and processes in lockstep, while driving new levels of efficiency, productivity, and safety.

Smart Cities

Bluetooth enhances the visitor experience and creates rich, personalized experiences for concert goers, museum lovers, sports fans, and tourists. According to proximity.directory, 84 percent of global airports, 93 percent of MLB stadiums, and 75 percent of NFL stadiums are projected to be using beacons by 2019, and location-based services deployments are expected to increase by five times by 2022.

Smart Home

Whether connecting TVs to soundbars or PCs to keyboards, Bluetooth® technology has been at the heart of the connected home for years. With 600 million Bluetooth smart home devices forecasted to ship in 2018 alone, Bluetooth innovation is now helping deliver the promise of the smart home.

To learn more about the history of Bluetooth technology and what’s next for the technology, visit: Bluetooth.com/markets.

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