Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) is an easy choice for the IIoT market.
As an integral part of the Industrial IoT (IIoT) revolution, Bluetooth® technology is leading the convergence of industry and information to help manufacturers take productivity and efficiency to a new level. According to ABI Research, there will be 210 million annual shipments of Bluetooth beacons and asset tracking devices for industrial uses by 2025. Thanks to the ongoing optimization of specifications driven by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) member community, Bluetooth technology enables long-range transmission, precise positioning, and network connectivity for a large number of devices. Those enhanced capabilities enable various intelligent industrial applications, from locating staff and tracking assets to supporting commercial lighting, sensor networks, automation, and monitoring systems. Bluetooth technology is now capable of supporting industrial solutions that improve operational safety in hazardous work environments, help reduce implementation costs, and increase operational efficiency.
Today, Bluetooth enabled intelligent industrial solutions have been recognized and adopted by many innovative companies. InPlay Inc. is a semiconductor design company, offering SoCs (system on a chip) for IIoT, smart home, game accessories, healthcare, and many other fields. I recently had an opportunity to talk with Jason Wu, the co-founder and CEO at InPlay, about use cases for Bluetooth enabled InPlay IIoT solutions and its future direction.
Q&A with Jason Wu
What are the requirements for Bluetooth SoCs/modules in the IIoT field, and what solutions have you developed?
Thanks to its ubiquitous smartphone ecosystem and resiliency against interference in crowded wireless environments, Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) is an easy choice for the IIoT market. The IIoT application space encompasses in wireless sensors, asset management, and positioning, and Bluetooth technology can support all the needed functionality. Connection reliability, capacity, range, and power consumption are the most important elements that IIoT customers care about.
InPlay launched a series of Bluetooth® SoCs for the IIoT market which effectively address these top concerns. To support greater capacity, InPlay Base Station enables bi-directional wireless communication to thousands of Bluetooth wireless nodes on a single star network. Another InPlay SoC in the series enables wireless sensor nodes, and the Bluetooth protocol gives them the ability to transmit over distances of hundreds of meters with power consumption at the microwatt level.
Recently, InPlay launched a programming-free Bluetooth beacon. Since there are no software programming requirements, inventors and product designers can quickly get started creating Bluetooth enabled IoT devices without the additional cost of embedded programming. Another feature of this technology is low power consumption. A beacon product based on InPlay’s implementation of Bluetooth LE can operate for months or years with one small coin-cell or paper battery.