Bluetooth 4.1 shapes standard for Internet of Things

December 06, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
The Bluetooth SIG has announced Bluetooth 4.1, which prepares Bluetooth peripherals for the Internet of Things by allowing them to serve as both hub and peripheral devices, and paving the way for them to directly connect to the Internet.

An update to the Bluetooth Core Specification, Bluetooth 4.1 is an evolutionary update to the wireless specification, following the major update in July 2010 with Bluetooth Smart, the intelligent, low-energy technology enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The updates will improve consumer usability with increased co-existence support for LTE, bulk data exchange rates, and aid developer innovation by allowing devices to support multiple roles simultaneously. The new release also lays the groundwork for IP-based connections, extending Bluetooth technology’s role as a wireless link for the IoT.

Major usability updates come in three areas:

· Coexistence — engineered to work seamlessly and cooperatively with the latest generation cellular technologies such as LTE. Bluetooth and LTE radios can communicate in order to ensure transmissions are coordinated and therefore reduce the possibility of near-band interference. The coordination between the two technologies happens automatically, while the consumer experiences the high quality they expect.

· Better Connections — provides manufacturers with more control over creating and maintaining Bluetooth connections by making the reconnection time interval flexible and variable. This improves the consumer experience by allowing devices to reconnect automatically when they are in proximity of one another. The consumer can leave the room and upon returning, two recently used devices reconnect without user intervention.

· Improved Data Transfer — Bluetooth Smart technology provides bulk data transfer. For example, through this new capability, sensors, which gathered data during a run, bike ride or swim, transfer that data more efficiently when the consumer returns home.

Bluetooth 4.1 extends the Bluetooth Smart development environment by providing product and application developers with more flexibility to create products that can take on multiple roles. With this new capability, a single device acts as both a Bluetooth Smart peripheral and a Bluetooth Smart Ready hub at the same time. For example, a smart watch acts as a hub gathering information from a Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor while simultaneously acting as