Bluetooth technology the global standard for simple secure wireless connectivity now supports mesh networking. The new mesh capability enables many-to-many (m:m) device communications and is optimised for creating large-scale device networks. It is ideally suited for building automation sensor networks and other IoT solutions where tens hundreds or thousands of devices need to reliably and securely communicate with one another.

"Bluetooth mesh networking is the most robust and powerful low-power radio technology for connected lighting in commercial spaces and it is the change the lighting industry has been waiting for" said Rafal Han CEO Silvair. "We're excited the world will finally see the efforts and contributions of Silvair and all the other dedicated working group member companies—the Bluetooth mesh revolution has officially started."

How it works

Bluetooth mesh networking brings the unique combination of the proven global interoperability and mature trusted ecosystem Bluetooth technology is known for to the creation of industrial-grade device networks.

"For us Bluetooth mesh is the future" said Dr. Juergen Kienhoefer CEO Wireless Cables Inc. "Our customers are mostly industrial customers that work with sensors and controls meaning they need long range tight security and reliable communication with a large number of devices as well as more and more integrated web capabilities each year. While our current solutions can extend Bluetooth range up to 200m Bluetooth mesh allows us to solve even more complex range and limit problems."

Bluetooth mesh networking utilises a managed flood approach for message transmission which is a simple and reliable form of message relay that is uniquely suited for low-power wireless mesh networks especially those handling a significant amount of multi-cast traffic. This makes flood-based message relay an ideal approach for the strict reliability scalability and performance requirements of the commercial and industrial markets.

A proven, trusted technology

Today Bluetooth is the leading low power wireless connectivity technology used to stream audio transfer data or broadcast information between devices. Now with the introduction of a mesh networking capability Bluetooth mesh networking is poised to further catalyse beacons robotics industrial automation energy management smart city applications and other industrial IoT and advanced manufacturing solutions.

"At Smart & Green we have trusted Bluetooth technology to give us the simple secure connectivity our customers demand" said Peter Wildhorn general manager Smart & Green. "With Bluetooth mesh we can continue to develop new innovative uses for lighting that will improve peoples' lives."

Looking forward

The value-added capabilities mature ecosystem and global brand awareness that Bluetooth wireless technology provides will enable the creation of much richer solutions with a faster time to market.

"The addition of mesh to the Bluetooth standard will open up significant opportunities for richer experiences in smart homes and building automation enabling fresh waves of innovation across a range of IoT applications" said Bob Morris vice president of marketing Wireless Business Unit ARM. "Low-power connectivity is essential to bringing the next generation of secure IoT devices to life."

The introduction of Bluetooth mesh networking comes at a time of pivotal industry growth with ABI Research expecting 48 billion internet-enabled devices to be installed by 2021 of which nearly one-third will include Bluetooth. We expect Bluetooth mesh will make the largest initial impact in commercial lighting and industrial applications and will eventually become a common technology in the larger Internet of Things ecosystem.

The Bluetooth mesh networking specifications as well as the tools required to qualify Bluetooth products with mesh networking support are now available here.

This article was sponsored by the Bluetooth SIG.