Bluetooth readies version 5 of tech, with IoT in the frame

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Bluetooth is placing the Internet of Things at the centre of its latest specification, quadrupling the range and doubling the speed of existing technology.

The tech's Special Interest Group (SIG) revealed Bluetooth 5 would be released in late 2016 or early 2017. It said it has updated the technology to power full-home and outdoor IoT deployments.

As well as the greater range and higher speeds, it said data broadcasting capabilities have been boosted by 800 percent, which gives companies the opportunity to offer beacons and other location based services.

Mark Powell, Executive Director of the Bluetooth SIG, said: "Bluetooth 5 will transform the way people experience the IoT by making it something that happens simply and seamlessly around them. Increasing operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices.

"And now with the ability to broadcast a much richer set of information, Bluetooth 5 will make beacons, location awareness, and other connectionless services an even more relevant part of an effortless and seamless IoT experience.”

Figures from ABI Research claimed there will be more than 371 million Bluetooth enabled beacons shipped by 2020. Principal Analyst Patrick Connolly said Bluetooth 5 would help open the technology to the home automation, enterprise and industrial markets, citing use cases such as navigation, asset tracking and emergency response.

Powell added: "Today, there are 8.2 billion Bluetooth products in use, and the enhancements in Bluetooth 5 and planned future Bluetooth technical advancements mean that Bluetooth will be in more than one-third of all installed IoT devices by 2020. The drive and innovation of Bluetooth will ensure our technology continues to be the IoT solution of choice for all developers."