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In recent years, the Bluetooth® mesh network has rapidly become the wireless connectivity platform of choice for many control systems, including advanced lighting solutions for smart buildings and smart industrial markets. According to the Bluetooth Market Update 2019, it is expected that the annual shipment of Bluetooth device network devices will reach 360 million units by 2023.
ITON Technology Corp., a Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) member company, has been building solutions with Bluetooth mesh technology. Its solutions are widely seen in intelligent lighting systems, electrical control systems, smart home control center/alarm systems, and automated irrigation systems.
Recently, I spoke with Dr. Dean Yang, Vice President of ITON Technology Corp., about their decision to develop solutions using Bluetooth mesh, as well as the use cases, and the development trend of smart lighting.
Q&A with Dr. Dean Yang
How are you using Bluetooth mesh and what problems does it solve for your customers?
Smart Lighting System
The application of Bluetooth® mesh technology in intelligent lighting systems is currently the most significant market where customers and manufacturers are investing in. Based on the stability of intelligent lighting systems and the ability to control and collect data, this mesh solution can be integrated with other control systems in the smart home, such as electrical control systems and smart home control centers/alarm systems, to achieve true intelligence.
Automated Irrigation Systems and Plant Lighting
Today, as land resources decline and the environment changes, many plants are grown in greenhouses for high yields. Indoor planting requires the right light source with a smart control system, and a Bluetooth mesh system is a good choice. To achieve remote control of light intensity, air temperature/humidity, soil moisture, and automatic irrigation, all that is needed is to put mesh modules into the lights, plus our application. As a result, our solution completely upends the previous model of work and use of agricultural tools in greenhouses, greatly increasing growth rates, reducing management costs, and helping customers increase their harvest rates by an average of 17%.
Why use Bluetooth mesh to develop smart lighting solutions?
In terms of end-user experience, true intelligence can only be achieved when multiple-vendor interoperability is enabled. The Bluetooth® mesh technology standard, created by the Bluetooth SIG member companies, contains basic protocols for all types of model connectivity, making it possible for end users to connect different brands of products in the same mesh network. I believe these advantages will help Bluetooth mesh become the mainstream of technology in various industries with technology iteration and product accumulation.
What role does the Bluetooth mesh play in the future of smart lighting?
The Internet of Things is a great vision, and it is lighting that has the most device nodes in home, commercial, or industrial applications. In addition to its own functions, such as switching, timing, grouping and scenario modes, the intelligent lighting network based on Bluetooth® mesh technology is combined with related sensing and AI deep learning. We are convinced that intelligent lighting must be the best network node in a variety of scenarios, and, in the future, it will be able to drive the development of the IoT.
Throughout the current market of a variety of smart devices, such as mobile phones, computers, televisions, air conditioners, audio devices, etc., the proportion of devices that support Bluetooth is very high. Therefore, using Bluetooth mesh technology to establish an intelligent lighting system, whether in IoT or AIoT, will play a core role in both fields. Through lighting systems, not only can you enable large device networks with Bluetooth mesh, but you can also connect to more external devices using lighting as a platform.
What applications do you see for Bluetooth mesh in the future?
The usage scenario of Bluetooth® mesh will change significantly if it can be combined with new Bluetooth angle of arrival (AoA) and angle of departure (AoD) capabilities. A Bluetooth mesh network currently identifies devices through their ID, but with the addition of arrival and departure angle methods, the accurate location of the device and the functions it performs can be more easily determined.
This kind of technology can be applied to the smart home, so that televisions, air conditioners, speakers, sweeping robots, and other household appliances no longer operate on their own. Instead, they will work together with security and intelligence.
Also, think about a commercial scenario where Bluetooth mesh is combined with the arrival and departure angle method, e.g. in a parking lot — from the automatic allocation of parking spaces and guided parking to personnel sensors that improve identification to environmental sensors that help enhance the building environment, these scenes can all be achieved. Therefore, we are very optimistic about the future of Bluetooth mesh in IoT.