Bluetooth 4.2 wants to be "the foundation for the IoT"
As I write this article, there is one technology which is providing a constant link between my smartphone and my smartwatch. Bluetooth's Special Interest Group (SIG) has advanced the standard and its capabilities far-beyond what anyone could have imagined at its conception, but it's not finished yet...
As we move into the age where we're criticised for not connecting a device to the internet, the amount of devices connected to one another will grow exponentially. At the same time, we're just as much criticised for connecting our devices to the web due to security concerns, and therefore the standards used to link devices rightfully-focus on maintaining the privacy and security of both device and user data...
Data packets can now contain about ten times as much data, which results in transfer speeds between two devices being improved by up to 2.5x
The Bluetooth SIG is aware their technology will remain vital in the years to come, and has released the spec for the next-iteration of their standard which contains vital improvements for its use in the IoT. Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, says: “Bluetooth Smart is the only technology that can scale with the market, provide developers the flexibility to innovate, and be the foundation for the IoT.”
One of the new profiles shipping with 4.2 is known as IPSP and enables IPv6 for Bluetooth. This is an important step for Bluetooth devices to access the internet directly via IPv6 and 6LoWPAN to relay information to the wider Internet of Things. As for privacy, Bluetooth beacons (which are becoming popular for high-street marketing...) will be unable to connect to and track your device without exclusive permission.
No new standard is worthwhile without a speed boost (not strictly true) and Bluetooth 4.2 rounds-off its feature set with a healthy one... Bluetooth Smart data packets can now contain about ten times as much data, which results in transfer speeds between two devices being improved by up to 2.5x over its predecessor.
Bluetooth 4.0 adapters could be updated to 4.1 with a software update, but it's not confirmed yet whether 4.1 will be as simple to update to 4.2 or whether new supported hardware will be required. As of the just-released Android Lollipop, 4.1 support has been added natively. Apple has decided to stick with 4.0 in iOS 8 despite capable hardware.
We will keep you updated as more details are announced...
Do you think Bluetooth 4.2 will be important for the IoT? Let us know in the comments.
If you are interested in IoT, please visit IoT Tech Expo Europe in London's Olympia, December 2-3 2015.