For a long time, Bluetooth has been more of a novelty wireless connection for most consumers. It still is, at least for general consumers. All those speakers, headsets, keyboards, smartwatches and fitness bands rely on the standard, which bridges the gap between the ranges of Wi-Fi and contact/line-of-sight transmissions. But data speeds are relatively slow and the audience for those products seems a bit small right now.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is betting that the audience will grow with smart objects and the Internet of Things coming into play. A connected lifestyle will require a more versatile connection standard, especially with communication between fast-moving objects such as cars or inventory conveyor belts.
It’s not clear on how they’ll be delivering that, whether through a new standard or through a feature subset in a point-upgrade to Bluetooth 5.0, but what we’re being promised is a fourfold increase in the “Bluetooth Smart” range — branding-wise, it also goes by Bluetooth Low Energy and is technically part of all versions of Bluetooth 4.0 and above — as well as “a 100 percent increase in speed, without increasing energy consumption.”
While Bluetooth is taking legs on its work, we’ll have to see how fast, if at all, consumers will flock to IoT.