BLUETOOTH SIG, the organisation that represents Bluetooth implementation across the industry has taken shutters off Bluetooth 5, the latest version of the standard.
Boasting eight time the capacity, two times the speed and four times the range of Bluetooth 4.2, Bluetooth 5 is designed to add a number of benefits to developers working in areas such as the "physical web" and Internet of Things (IoT).
Friend of INQ, Martin Woolley at Bluetooth SIG, told us: "All the new features are based around Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). Apple's Earpods are one example of how Bluetooth Audio can be carried over Bluetooth LE, and with the increases in specification for Bluetooth 5, we'll see a lot more of what we’re calling 'Next Generation Bluetooth Audio' which because its LE will increase battery life on both the headphones or speakers and the devices using it."
Bluetooth 5 can reach over a kilometre (in fact nearer a mile) making it much more able to cover areas such as stadiums and city centres. Yet, Woolley reminds us: "The range boost was achieved without boosting transmission, so power usage has actually decreased not increased".
However, the capabilities are only able to run at full pelt using Bluetooth 5.0 to 5.0 devices, though as ever, Bluetooth remains fully compatible right back to version 1.
The increased data capacity comes with the ability to transmit packets at 2MB/s as opposed to the previous 1MB/s, though users can roll back to 1MB/s for compatibility, however, this combination is ideal for bulk sending of metadata to improve battery life, and along with a new "connectionless mode", bring richer content to physical web beacons, stock control, information provision without the need for a direct connection to a server.
Bluetooth 5 doesn't include meshing at launch, but this is promised for all forms of Bluetooth LE next year.
For the consumer, expect to see Bluetooth 5 devices hit the market in 2-6 months. The company predicts that the average house will have 50+ Internet-connected devices by 2020, and WiFi routers can’t handle that amount of data, meaning that the opportunities for Bluetooth 5 to plug that gap are huge. µ
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