The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed in 1998 to define the Bluetooth standard. Since its formation, Bluetooth has transformed into a robust interoperable wireless standard that enables the Internet of Things (IoT). The newly released Bluetooth 5 specification continues that revolution. There are many wireless standards including ZigBee, wirelessHART, Z-Wave, WiSun and more, that have served niche applications such as smart homes, remote controls, building automation, and metering. Due to the different needs of each application, the industry is having difficulty finding interoperability between the Internet of Things devices among the fragmented set of standards and options available. The adoption of Bluetooth by the mobile phone has positioned it as a leading candidate to solve interoperability hurdles via a melting pot of different solutions that all include Bluetooth. Today, the use of Bluetooth has grown beyond traditional applications and into audio, wearable, and other small portable device and toy applications.
The evolution of Bluetooth-enabled devices began about seven years ago with the mobile phone (2000), keyboard-mouse combo (2002), stereo headphone (2004), and smartwatch (2006). As Bluetooth-enabled IoT devices became smarter and more sophisticated, they needed to be more power efficient, which prompted the SIG and its members to introduce the Bluetooth low energy standard. Soon thereafter, in 2012, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S with Bluetooth low energy, which all other brands also started supporting. The Bluetooth low energy standard continued to evolve with the introduction of version 4.2, which added features specific to security and speed.
In 2016, the SIG addressed the key requirements of simple and secure wireless connectivity by introducing Bluetooth 5, which according to the June 2016 Bluetooth SIG press release, “quadruples range, doubles speed, increases data broadcasting capacity by 800%.” The evolution of Bluetooth to Bluetooth 5 continues to build momentum and “will deliver robust, reliable Internet of Things (IoT) connections” that make wearables and now smart homes a reality. This article describes the benefits of using Bluetooth 5 ready IP for easy IoT SoC integration.