Bluetooth Standards & Applications
Bluetooth, commercially launched in 1999, is a wireless technology that allows electronic devices to transmit data over short distances, using the 2.4 GHz frequency band. At first, Bluetooth made its name in audio, but it has evolved and is now used for everything from smart homes and cars to asset tracking and patient monitoring.
KOAMTAC has been at the forefront of the adoption of Bluetooth and was the first company to develop Bluetooth scanners for use with both Apple iOS and Samsung mobile devices, including the Tizen OS that runs on the Samsung Gear smartwatch.
Bluetooth Classic vs BLE
Bluetooth Classic is the name of the older legacy version, which includes versions 1.0 through 3.0 (including EDR). It was originally developed for wireless point-to-point transmission of data between a headset and a phone. Whereas new Bluetooth standards are now available, Bluetooth Classic is still used in many applications that
require constant streaming of data such as barcode scanning and music as well as by computer peripherals such as wireless keyboards and mice.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the second generation Bluetooth, introduced in 2010 and it includes versions 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 5 and 5.1. Energy efficiency is a key differentiator for BLE and it works the best for transmission of shorter data bursts. Unlike Bluetooth Classic, BLE remains in sleep mode unless data is transmitted, drawing little or no power while idle.
The higher energy efficiency provided by BLE is critical for wearables and other devices that use a button battery or have limited charging capability. Some applications demand a device that runs for months or years without battery replacement and BLE makes that possible.
Multiple Ways to Connect
Whereas Bluetooth Classic only supports point-to-point connections, BLE supports multiple network types, including a point-to-point for data transfers, broadcasting for location-based services, and mesh networking for creating large-scale networks where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices can securely communicate.
Broadcasting makes it possible to broadcast messages from one to many devices and in recent years, the use of Bluetooth beacons has gained traction and is used for everything from helping visitors find their way at airports and museums to enabling retailers to engage with shoppers and keeping track of cargo and assets. A beacon is a small radio transmitter that broadcasts messages to other Bluetooth-enabled devices within the proximity of the beacon.
Today, Bluetooth is standard in all phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring interoperability with consumer and enterprise-grade devices and peripherals. Bluetooth is backwards compatible, but the full benefit of an upgrade will only be realized if all the peripherals support the new version. Consequently, old peripherals will still work, but once upgraded they will work even better.
The Future of Bluetooth
Increased power efficiency and lower cost are opening up many new markets for Bluetooth technology. From smart homes and buildings to smart industries and cities, Bluetooth is thriving in the emerging markets and recent data from ABI Research forecasts that the Bluetooth technology will continue to thrive in these areas over the next five years.
1 billion annual shipments of Bluetooth connected devices by 2023
360 million Bluetooth network devices will ship annually by 2023
KOAMTAC - Everything Bluetooth
KOAMTAC offers a broad selection of Bluetooth-enabled scanners, RFID readers, wearables, and mPOS devices. Several new product releases with BLE5.0 are planned for the end of 2019 and next year. The KDC280 BLE4.1 scanner is scheduled to upgrade to BLE5.0 by the end of 2019. All other classic Bluetooth devices will be upgraded to BLE5.0 and new products will be introduced as such. These cutting-edge solutions make it possible to quickly, securely, and affordably add high performance, enterprise-grade bar code scanning, RFID reading, and payment processing to a regular smartphone.