The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) says its next release, coming late 2016 or early 2017, will be dubbed Bluetooth 5 and will include “significantly” increased range, speed, and broadcast messaging capacity. Expect to see support for it in Apple devices next year.
Extending range will deliver “robust, reliable” Internet of Things (IoT) connections that make full-home and building and outdoor use cases a reality, says Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. Higher speeds will send data faster and optimize responsiveness.
“Increasing broadcast capacity will propel the next generation of ‘connectionless’ services like beacons and location-relevant information and navigation,” Powell adds. “These Bluetooth advancements open up more possibilities and enable SIG companies – now at an all-time high of 30,000 member companies – to build an accessible, interoperable IoT.”
Bluetooth 5 will quadruple range and double speed of low energy connections while increasing the capacity of connectionless data broadcasts by 800 %, according to the Bluetooth SIG. With the major boost in broadcast messaging capacity, the data being transferred will be richer, more intelligent, Powell says. This will redefine the way Bluetooth devices transmit information, moving away from the app-paired-to-device model to a connectionless IoT where there is less need to download an app or connect the app to a device, he adds.
More than 371 million Bluetooth enabled beacons are projected to ship by 2020, according to Patrick Connolly, principal analyst at ABI Research. With eight times the broadcast messaging capacity, Bluetooth 5 will further propel the adoption and deployment of beacons and location-based services in the home automation, enterprise, and industrial markets, according to the research group.