Bluetooth Smart Improvements Found in More Devices
Initially, connecting a phone to a Bluetooth device or car — that which we call pairing — was generally considered difficult and somewhat mysterious. Even in a car, where Bluetooth enables hands-free talking, some frustration emerged.
However, Bluetooth has emerged as the default system for connecting our devices wirelessly. It now represents the core for connecting phones with wearable devices like fitness trackers, door locks, toothbrushes and light bulbs. The primart reason: is that Bluetooth has evolved into a smarter technology.
Bluetooth is a short-range wireless radio technology that was released to the public in 1999. The product is controlled by the nonprofit Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which has 24,000 member companies, and any company can use Bluetooth in its product as long as it agrees to certain specifications.
This updated version of Bluetooth goes by a variety of names: Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth Low Energy. It is a much-lower-power version of Bluetooth that sends far less information than the previous Bluetooth versions. Most believe that the role of Bluetooth has changed. All these products are being brought into the connected world, and it’s all using Bluetooth Smart.
This latest version of Bluetooth is meant to be used for very fast, supershort bursts of information sent over relatively short distances.
Most believe the most noticeable change is how BT Smart pairs with other devices. Now, you can pair devices using an app instead of using the phone’s settings. When you download the app, it does the work of searching for and finding the product by name (and not displaying other Bluetooth devices like cars or speakers that might be nearby).
Many developers say that ease of use combined with longer battery life are reasons Bluetooth will actually be able to power the \"Internet of Things\" -- THAT IS, the concept of a world of connected devices that can communicate with each other.
In short, designers feel BT Smart is the ideal technology to make things smart that weren\'t smart before.
Naturally, there are drawbacks as well. The greatest challenge for Bluetooth is range. If you have connected your phone to your home thermostat through Bluetooth, you will also have to connect the thermostat to Wi-Fi to control it from outside the house. If you are controlling the thermostat with just Bluetooth and you have a large home, you could even go out of range while inside.
Bluetooth can cover 50 to 150 feet and extend as far as 300 feet if the two devices have a direct line of sight. Of course, that signal is dependent on walls and other obstacles. Another potential downside is security. Researchers have reported they were able to bypass the encryption built into Bluetooth Smart.
However, Bluetooth Smart is not the only wireless connection technology available, and its strongest rival, Wi-Fi Direct, offers faster data speeds and possibly stronger security. Wi-Fi Direct is based on Wi-Fi, but it lets two devices connect without having to go through a wireless router.
When the smoke clears, we will more than likely be found in a world filled with both Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth Smart. The more difficult question to answer is whether any other connection standards will make a dent in their dominance. Those other technologies will have a steep hill to climb.