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Bluetooth Sees Boost in Development With Mesh, BLE Advancements

Bluetooth World speakers and Bluetooth Special Interest Group officials have reported a surge in development and product releases involving Bluetooth Mesh and BLE for smart buildings and smart homes.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 25, 2018

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) celebrated its 20-year anniversary at Bluetooth World 2018, which was held in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sept. 18-19, with a broader offering of solutions that include Bluetooth Mesh, the use of Bluetooth beacons in smart buildings and Bluetooth-based audio. Following the event, Ken Kolderup, the Bluetooth SIG's marketing VP, speculated that these trends are ushering Bluetooth into a new era.

A lot of that growth is fueled by the Bluetooth Mesh standard, was released in July 2017. Since that time, more than 65 products with mesh-networking capability have been released, the Bluetooth SIG reports. Bluetooth Mesh technology vendors include Cypress, MindTree, Nordic Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, Silvair and Qualcomm.

At the Bluetooth SIG event, many of the programs, discussions and panels centered around Bluetooth Mesh and its trajectory into lighting and lighting controls. This led into IoT-based deployments that could include asset management, as well as monitoring occupancy and building maintenance status.

One function that Bluetooth Mesh offers is enabling digital buildings to provide data for a digital twin of a building, in order to help manage its use and activity within it. For instance, said Szymon Slupik, Silvair's president and CTO, building maintenance at hotels can be managed by detecting and transmitting data via Bluetooth Mesh if there is a problem such as a burned-out light fixture. Detection of building infrastructure failures, Slupik explained, is typically performed manually. Automating that process not only reduces manual labor, but could improve hotel customers' satisfaction. "If you detect a failing lamp before the guest arrives," he said, "think how much value that offers" before a guest makes a phone call to complain about it.

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