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Bluetooth 5 is out: Now will home IoT take off?

Stephen Lawson | Dec. 12, 2016
The latest version of the wireless protocol goes faster and farther

Bluetooth still needs to fill in a few pieces of the puzzle, ABI’s Greengart said.

The new, longer range is an improvement, but a mesh would be better, he said. In a mesh configuration, which is available in competing networks like ZigBee and Thread, each device only needs to connect with the one closest to it. That takes less power, and it's better than relying on each device’s range to cover a home, because walls and other obstacles can keep signals from reaching their full range, he said. The Bluetooth SIG is at work on a mesh capability now.

Consumers are also waiting for a high-fidelity audio connection to wireless headphones, a need that’s getting more urgent as phone makers phase out physical jacks, Greengart said. As with mesh, it’s coming from Bluetooth but not here yet.

Although Bluetooth 5 makes strides that could help drive IoT adoption, the field is still open, he said. “There’s room for almost any solution to succeed, including Wi-Fi.”

 

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