Whats common between the wireless Bluetooth Low Energy (“BLE”) technology, used in IOT products and the Hindu God Krishna? Both are known by a number of different names that refer to the same entity! Bluetooth Low Energy is also known as Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth 4.0 , Bluetooth LE, BLE, Blutooth (when misspelled!) or wireless BLE. Bluetooth Low Energy (“BLE”) plays an important role in wireless communication technology (connectivity) for low power internet of things (IOT) products and applications.
What exactly is Bluetooth Low Energy aka BLE technology and why is it important for IOT
The low power feature of Bluetooth Low Energy makes BLE wireless technology a great fit for IOT- The internet of things
The Bluetooth 4.0 Specification introduced BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy as an ideal fit for IOT- the internet of things. One of the key challenges in world of connected IOT devices is to connect and transfer data from small devices with very low power. BLE fits in perfectly in this world of IOT, since low power wireless devices using BlueTooth Low Energy for communication require very little power compared to Classic Bluetooth.
Consider wireless IOT devices that can be powered using coin cell batteries or Duracell AA batteries for over a year and you will see why Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE is the right technology for such IOT devices. For example, if you are developing an IOT device for an agriculture application, that uses BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) communication technology for intelligent drip irrigation, the wireless IOT devices could be easily powered by solar energy harvesting.
Wireless BLE technology & operating system support and the importance for IOT
The other fantastic feature of Bluetooth Low Energy is the support for wireless BLE across operating systems. Take any popular operating system, Windows, Android or IOS and you will find excellent support for BLE and developing Bluetooth applications. If you are developing a wireless IOT low energy application that needs to work across operating systems, Bluetooth Low Energy technology is always a great choice.
The ease of developing wireless IOT applications using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology
The sheer ease of developing IOT or connectivity applications for BLE makes it easy for companies to incorporate Bluetooth wireless technology in their IOT products.
Just follow the easy steps below to easily develop Bluetooth Low Energy based applications on your favorite hardware: (Learn how to choose your Bluetooth Low Energy hardware platform here)
1The company that wants to use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology in their IOT products must first register with the Bluetooth SIG
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is the body responsible for developing Bluetooth standards and allowing registered companies to license the Bluetooth technology.
2The developers who are looking to add BLE technology to their IOT products for wireless communication must then download the Bluetooth Specification
The Bluetooth Core Specification contains all the features that will be required by a typical BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) wireless application for an IOT product
3Developers looking to incorporate BLE wireless communication technology into their IOT products then download the Bluetooth Developer Studio
The Bluetooth Developer Studio has a wonderful graphical IDE interface that enables a BLE for IOT developer to create applications. This easy to use tool makes it easy to create wireless Bluetooth applications that will work with various hardware chipsets. This also makes the BLE development platform-agnostic so that the BLE experience is the same across IOT products
4Third party components are available for customizing specific Bluetooth 4.0 features for IOT applications
If you are looking for a specific BLE feature/service for your wireless IOT application, you can also request specific development partners thru the SIG ecosystem. These BLE modules will also ensure that the code does not break the core BLE stack available as part of the Bluetooth Low Energy specification. Large partners such as Texas Instruments also offer reference designs that help you develop your Bluetooth Low Energy for IOT application faster.
5Use Bluetooth SIG tools to test your Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology for your IOT product
Testing your BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) wireless technology products can be done using the easily available SIG tools. Using the standard tools ensures that the BLE stack as part of the core BLE specification is not compromised.
6Qualification process for you IOT application towards meeting BLE Bluetooth Low Energy technology standards (Bluetooth 4.x)
For BLE qualification of your wireless IOT product, you can use the Test Plan Generator and the Profile Tuning Suite yourself. Alternatively, you can utilize a third party offering the Bluetooth Low Energy technology qualification service
IBeacon technology using Bluetooth Low Energy- classic application of the low power feature of BLE wireless technology
Apple’s adaptation of the Bluetooth Low Energy technology for IOS was an absolute revelation. Beacons are essentially IOT devices that use BLE to broadcast their location and identity. The software at the receiver,typically a mobile phone, then understands the location and identity of the beacon immediately
- Range : The maximum range of beacons using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless technology is approximately 450 meters.
- Low Power : The IBeacon technology is enabled by the low power feature of the Bluetooth low power wireless technology.
Some of the applications of low power wireless BLE technologies include retail stores that broadcast promotional deals to mobile phones of shoppers, stadiums that broadcast updates to the audience and more. This is a case of Bluetooth Low Energy opening up a completely new technology segment thru its low power and proximity feature.
IOT Applications for Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled applications are present in healthcare, sports & fitness and the complete wearables industry