Bluetooth is a wireless communication technology widely recognized by the market. Thanks to the advantages of mesh networking, low power consumption and fast transmission speed, Bluetooth can provide a reliable, scalable and low-cost solution for the industrial Internet of things (iiot). In industrial and enterprise environments, Wi Fi was once unmatched by other technologies. It is cost-effective, has excellent performance, and can be easily extended to large properties and facilities with the help of mesh network system, but it can only be applied to indoor applications. Cellular connections, on the other hand, are expensive. This is not cost-effective for applications that consume a large amount of traffic.
Bluetooth has been widely used in the consumer market, such as the connection between mobile devices and intelligent devices, wireless audio and similar functions. For example, most smartphones and smart speakers have built-in Bluetooth, allowing users to synchronize devices to play music and media remotely. Compared with other connection technologies, Bluetooth often has more restrictions, especially when it comes to the effective operation range of the technology.
Recently, however, this situation has begun to change. Thanks to the progress of Technology (Bluetooth mesh network) and the momentum of Bluetooth technology alliance, people’s awareness of it is also increasing. In terms of industrial Internet of things, Bluetooth is more cost-effective than ever before. What makes Bluetooth an ideal choice for iiot applications? Many of the inherent limitations of Bluetooth are only reflected in consumer applications, and in older versions of the technology. For example, the distance of Bluetooth wireless connection is not long. Most people think that the maximum supported distance is only a few meters.
In fact, Bluetooth can work over longer distances and perform well even in harsh environments, such as industrial environments. The latest standard Bluetooth 5.0 supports remote mode and can be used to transmit information up to 1.7 kilometers. There is almost no limit to the number of devices that Bluetooth technology can connect and the amount of data transmitted through the standard. In addition, the security performance of Bluetooth is also good. Bluetooth is also a relatively low-power system, which can maintain low operating costs. This benefit is especially obvious if dozens of online machines use this technology.
Bluetooth can also be easily combined with existing devices. In many cases, there is no need to upgrade, modify or exchange existing software. Serial ports are often used in industrial applications, and Bluetooth is compatible with these hardware because of its serial port profile (SPP). Finally, and most importantly, Bluetooth can detect and correct errors through the receiver. This means that forward error correction (FEC) can avoid errors and ensure the correctness of data. This is very important in industrial space where real-time measurement must be accurate.
In addition to multifunction and the launch of Bluetooth 5.0, the introduction of mesh capability has indeed enhanced the potential of this technology in the industrial field. The Bluetooth mesh structure launched in July 2017 innovates the one-to-one connection shared by most devices and realizes many to many device connections. This means that, like the traditional mesh network, Bluetooth mesh provides a larger scale of communication for this technology and its supporters. Bluetooth can be used to support high-capacity systems, which is the type required by intelligent buildings and intelligent industrial applications. It allows thousands of devices to communicate effectively with each other.
Chuck Sabin, senior director of market development of Bluetooth technology alliance, said, “Bluetooth mesh network is very suitable for control, monitoring and automation systems.” in addition, Bluetooth technology alliance also announced a new positioning function, AOA / AOD positioning, which further improved the technology supported by its positioning service. By identifying the direction of the Bluetooth signal and comparing it with known information, it provides “centimeter level” accuracy for location-based applications. This technology can be effectively used for low-cost accurate indoor positioning and asset tracking solutions.
All of the above effectively promote the application of Bluetooth in the industrial field. Bluetooth Technology Alliance predicts that by 2023, the annual shipment of Bluetooth intelligent building positioning service equipment will increase by 7 times, the annual shipment of Bluetooth intelligent industrial equipment will increase by 5 times, and the shipment of Bluetooth enterprise wearable devices will increase by 3.5 times. What is the next step for Bluetooth in iiot? The biggest obstacle that iiot and Bluetooth will face when they are widely used is the public misunderstanding of this technology. However, these phenomena have begun to disappear in recent years.
The latest standards greatly improve the operation range and transmission speed. Mesh network is introduced to realize many to many applications and improve the utilization of resources. Bluetooth devices can run on button batteries for months or years. All these, together with the reliable security and scalability of its wireless communication, make Bluetooth an ideal solution for industrial organizations. As for how this technology will bring revolutionary changes to the iiot market, it will be favored by players who have no vested interests in the past. In today’s rapidly changing digital and ultra-high speed market, it is difficult to deny the convenience and value of IOT.
Bluetooth will provide a reliable, scalable and low-cost solution to strengthen the entire plant and facility. In the future, these buildings and factories will rely on this technology to grow and develop.