T. Ramachandran

Will pave the way for its use in a whole new range of devices

Small devices that run on button cell batteries can be equipped with Bluetooth

‘Next generation watches will act as hubs of information and interact with other devices'

KOCHI: The availability of a new, low-energy consuming avatar of Bluetooth, the technology that facilitates short-range wireless communication between devices, will soon pave the way for its use in a whole new range of devices, say experts.

The Bluetooth technology is now commonly used in mobile phones, computers and many other devices.

There are three versions of this technology — the classic one that is used in a wide range of consumer devices; the Bluetooth high speed technology which is used for transfer of videos, music and photos between devices; and the low-energy technology.

In recent weeks, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has released more information about its forthcoming Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0, the highlight of which is low-energy technology.

Thanks to this technology, small devices that run on button cell batteries — the small coin-like batteries used in watches, for instance — can be equipped with Bluetooth. This means that small devices which receive data through various sensors will be able to transmit it real time to nearby gadgets like a mobile phone, laptop or computer and even a watch.

For instance, the ‘next generation' watches will act as hubs of such information and interact with other devices, say the promoters of this technology.

So a range of button-cell powered gadgets connected with automotive and automation home entertainment, security, fitness and sports and mobile health will come enabled with this technology.

Executive director of the Bluetooth SIG Mike Foley told The Hindu , “I believe that ‘hub'-type devices [mobile phones, personal computers, and television sets] will quickly include the low energy feature of the v4.0 specification. This is because the design of low energy makes this a simple hardware upgrade to existing design.”

What are the challenges the manufacturers face in deploying the new technology?

“The chipset is designed to be a replacement for an existing Bluetooth module allowing the antenna and other components in a design to be reused. However, to take advantage of the new use cases, additional software must be created, tested and deployed. Thus, some work needs to be done to take advantage of the new capabilities supported,” Mr. Foley said.

In the home environment, information provided by sensors could probably make it easier to track happenings and trigger activities — in the kitchen, for instance.

In automobiles, such sensors could keep track of parameters like tyre pressure and alert the driver when there is need for attention.

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