Bluetooth 5: Increased range, speed, message broadcasting & more!

Bluetooth 5, which was first announced in June, launched today but will run only in devices with compatible chips from early next year.

The new version of Bluetooth comes with increased range, speed and broadcast messaging capacity.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today launched Bluetooth 5, bringing in a new wave of connectivity at a time when wireless and IoT devices are gaining ground at the cost of traditional gadgets. With the new powerful technology, the Bluetooth SIG aims to smoothen the adoption of beacons which will in turn decrease connection barriers and enable faster and smoother connection between IoT devices. The first devices with Bluetooth 5 are expected to arrive from early next year and the technology is available to download and use from the Bluetooth website.

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While the existing Bluetooth v4.2 technology which was released towards the end of 2014 brought in improvements like enhanced privacy, more secure connections, data packet length extensions and IPv6 connection option to support IoT devices, Bluetooth 5 will quadruple the existing range of the technology, double the speed of low energy connections and will increase the capacity of connectionless data broadcasts by 800 percent.

Thanks to the increase in broadcast messaging capacity, Bluetooth devices will be able to exchange information without needing apps to be paired with devices. At the same time, it will increase the deployment of beacons and location based services both in homes as well as in industries, and will help with airport navigation, tracking warehouse inventory and emergency responses.

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The Bluetooth SIG currently has a membership of 30,000 companies who will use Bluetooth 5 to develop IoT products and services that will offer better interoperability and consumer experiences. Bluetooth 5 is expected to power a third of all IoT devices by 2020 and around 371 million Bluetooth enabled beacons will also be shipped by then, says Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research.

“Bluetooth 5 will transform the way people experience the IoT by making it something that happens simply and seamlessly around them. operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices," said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

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