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In 2016, a better Bluetooth steps up to the IoT challenge

Fixated on doing their part to build a better Internet of Things (IoT), a group has announced a number of Bluetooth updates designed to modernize the popular technology. Bluetooth was first introduced back in 1994 and has evolved over the years as needs required. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), comprised of several backing companies including Lenovo, Intel, Apple, and Microsoft, is the force behind these changes.

This is not some one-off project. The new Bluetooth standard will hit the market next year. Among the features we can expect to see is a stream of data twice as fast with a range that is four times what today’s Bluetooth provides. This enhanced connectivity will be called Bluetooth Smart, and it is expected to enable outdoor use-cases and full-home connectivity through its extended metrics of capacity.

Related: Google is developing an OS for the Internet of Things

SIG projects that the IoT market may grow to between $2 and $11.1 trillion by the year 2025. Even at the lower end of that range, there is little reason to doubt the need for new standards of performance and features, particularly given the scale and increasing sophistication of these devices. The new Bluetooth will also introduce mesh networking in its roadmap for the year ahead.

Additional real-world applications for this enhanced Bluetooth may include medical devices and other critical devices. Through rapid data transfers that are responsive with low latency, the fast data transfers will appeal in many use-case scenarios beyond the home. The infrastructure market is also one that that this new Bluetooth seeks to support, in addition to the familiar home-based applications.

To help get the launch of this update along, the group has developed and is distributing its Bluetooth Developer Studio, which is available to Bluetooth SIG members. The tool is designed to help developers support the various IoT-enhanced features as the 2016 roadmap rolls out in the year ahead.