The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) declared a new feature that is capable of amplifying performance for Bluetooth location services. This innovative component permits devices to determine the direction of Bluetooth signals and enable the development of proximity solutions. These proximity solutions are capable of understanding device direction and Bluetooth positioning systems that can execute centimeter-level location accuracy.
As it stands, location services only fall into two categories, proximity solutions and positioning systems. Currently, proximity solutions utilize Bluetooth to comprehend how close two devices are to one another as well as how far apart. Item finding solutions including property tags and points-of-interest (PoI) information solutions including proximity marketing beacons. With this new feature, Bluetooth proximity solutions will also enable device direction capability.
Positioning systems, on the other hand, use Bluetooth to conclude the physical location of devices and real-time locating systems (RTLS) like those used for asset tracking. With the addition of direction finding, positioning systems gain location accuracy down to the centimeter-level.
“Location services is one of the fastest growing solution areas for Bluetooth technology, and is forecasted to reach more than 400 million products per year by 2022,” says Mark Powell, Bluetooth SIG executive director. “This is great traction and the Bluetooth community continues to seek ways to further grow this market with technology enhancements that better address market needs, demonstrating the community’s commitment to driving innovation and enriching the technology experience of users worldwide.”
Andrew Zignani, senior analyst at ABI Research, says, “Since the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy in 2010, developers have been able to leverage Bluetooth to create powerful, low-cost location services solutions for a variety of applications spanning across consumer, retail, healthcare, public venues, and manufacturing environments.” Zignani further goes on to say, “The new direction finding feature can help Bluetooth better address the varied and evolving needs of the location industry, enabling more flexible, scalable, and futureproof deployments that will further accelerate the adoption of Bluetooth for location services in existing markets, while unlocking additional business opportunities for new applications and use cases.”
Bluetooth’s new direction finding feature is included in version 5.1 of the Bluetooth Core Specification already available to developers. Furthermore, Launch Studio, the Bluetooth SIG tool necessary for qualifying new Bluetooth products, is undergoing updates to support the new feature.