Bluetooth® technology is synonymous with audio streaming, it is the go-to wireless connectivity solution for wearables and other connected devices, and it is well regarded as the archetype for global interoperability. Now, with the capability to create large-scale device networks via Bluetooth mesh, the Bluetooth community has once again revolutionized the Internet of Things (IoT).

Bluetooth mesh networking is the new benchmark for wireless device networks, and it is setting the stage for a whole new wave of connectivity, from whole-building networks to city-wide smart services.

“The best part of using Bluetooth mesh is that it guarantees global interoperability,” said Lichun Ko, technical manager at Mediatek. “Consumers are assured that the product they buy from one vendor works perfectly with those from other vendors. Interoperability is indispensable in the IoT world. Here, Bluetooth mesh constitutes a major step forward.”

In this era of home, building, and industrial automation, the ubiquity and interoperability of Bluetooth technology gives it a significant advantage over similar mesh networking technologies. It is also fundamental to the emergence and cultivation of new smart markets. “You could have similar systems, but as long as they are proprietary systems then you don’t have market for that,” said Szymon Slupik, president and CTO of Silvair, Inc.

“The best part of using Bluetooth mesh is that it guarantees global interoperability.”

Lichun Ko, Mediatek

Bluetooth Mesh Hits Its Stride

In one year since its release, Bluetooth® mesh has become the clear choice for large-scale device networks. Already, more than 65 products with mesh networking capability have been qualified from leading silicon, stack, component, and end-product vendors.

Designed to meet the scalability, reliability, and security requirements of commercial and industrial environments, Bluetooth mesh is powering smart building and smart industry implementations where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to communicate with one another effectively. From factories to hospitals, airports, retail stores, and the home, this new mesh networking capability enables the development of building automation systems.

Bluetooth Lights the Way

Lighting control systems have served as a key use case driving the increase of Bluetooth® device network implementation. A building’s lighting system provides a natural grid through which all devices in a Bluetooth enabled network can pass messages and establish whole-building control, monitoring, and automation systems within a facility. This wireless lighting solution can also function as a platform to enable indoor positioning and location services — including point-of-interest solutions, indoor navigation, asset tracking, and improved space utilization.

“Bluetooth mesh has fundamentally altered the conversation around connected lighting by providing a complete, high-performing solution that allows lighting to serve a greater purpose in industrial and commercial spaces,” Mark Needham, VP of European sales at Fulham Co, Inc. “A lighting system that can both help visitors find their way and allow building operators to pinpoint the location of assets within a building or collect a vast range of data from various building sensors for analysis and utilization is only the beginning of what is possible.”

Setting the Stage for Smart Cities

The reliability and scalability that Bluetooth mesh networking offers will also enable the creation of smarter solutions to help effectively manage growing populations and improve the quality of life for citizens, businesses, and employees in cities around the globe.

“We are going to have to have smart cities in a smart world where nearly everything is connected,” said Sascha Segan, lead mobile analyst for PCMag. “We’re going to benefit from the data and the intelligent management of those things, which becomes a great tool for improving the efficiency, utility, and lifestyle of people in these places. And Bluetooth is already installed. That’s going to make the adoption of smart city and smart infrastructure technologies faster because Bluetooth has already done the work of bringing the industry together.”

“Bluetooth is…going to make the adoption of smart city and smart infrastructure technologies faster.”

Sascha Segan, PCMag

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