Locations services is a rapidly growing solution area for Bluetooth technology, forecasted to reach close to 400 million products per year by 2022. The widespread adoption and success of current Bluetooth location services offerings have helped spark market demand for more precise location services capabilities. To meet this demand for even greater performance, the Bluetooth member community added a new direction finding capability that brings a time-tested method for determining the signal direction to reliable Bluetooth technology.
Enhancing Support for Location Services
This new feature holds the potential to significantly enhance the performance of Bluetooth location services solutions. Bluetooth direction-finding will enable Bluetooth devices to determine the direction of a Bluetooth signal, enabling the development of Bluetooth proximity solutions that can understand device direction and Bluetooth positioning systems that can achieve down to centimeter-level location accuracy. Examples of key application areas include item finding and point of interest solutions, as well as real-time location and indoor positioning systems.
Item Finding Solutions: The direction-finding feature will allow devices to provide directional information, meaning a user can not only see how far away an object is, but can also determine the item’s direction, making it even easier to find misplaced keys, wallets, or other personal items of value.
Point of Interest (PoI) Information Solutions: Directional information can also be leveraged to more accurately target specific point of interest information solutions. With Bluetooth direction finding, instead of scrolling through a list of artworks nearby while touring a museum, a visitor can simply point their phone at a specific exhibit to receive relevant information on an exact piece of art.
Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS): The ability to provide down to centimeter-level accuracy enables an asset tracking system in a factory to monitor the location and flow of materials with greater precision or better alert workers if they go into unsafe areas on the floor.
Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS): Bluetooth direction-finding supports even greater positioning accuracy for wayfinding systems in hospitals, shopping malls, or airports to improve the navigation experience or require the deployment of fewer locator beacons.
"Since the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy in 2010, developers have been able to leverage Bluetooth to create powerful, low-cost location services solutions for a variety of applications spanning across consumer, retail, healthcare, public venues, and manufacturing environments," said Andrew Zignani, Senior Analyst, ABI Research. "The new direction-finding feature can help Bluetooth better address the varied and evolving needs of the location industry, enabling more flexible, scalable, and future-proof deployments that will further accelerate the adoption of Bluetooth for location services in existing markets while unlocking additional business opportunities for new applications and use cases."