The next major Bluetooth standard will add new ‘direction finding’ features that will make the connectivity tech a little more like GPS.
Bluetooth 5.1, which became available to developers today, will enable, for example, a phone to track down another enabled device to the centimetre. Currently, the proximity-based tech can track devices down to the metre.
Using the new spec, it becomes possible to determine the direction of a Bluetooth signal, as well as the proximity, meaning it may become easier for folks to track down errant gadgets using property tags.
The likes of Tile, which makes Bluetooth-based tags to help people keep tabs on keys, luggage and other valuable items, will likely be buoyed by this news, for example.
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“By including the new direction finding feature, Bluetooth proximity solutions can add device direction capability,” the Bluetooth Special Interest Group wrote in a press release on Monday (via Venture Beat). “For example, an item finding solution could not only let a user know when a personal property tag is nearby, but also in what direction, greatly enhancing the user experience.”
The new spec could be great news for retailers and museum curators who could use beacons to direct the public to the products/artefacts they’re seeking with far greater accuracy. Given the limitations of GPS as a functioning tool when used indoors, it could be an extremely significant development
“Location services is one of the fastest growing solution areas for Bluetooth technology, and is forecasted to reach over 400 million products per year by 2022,” said Mark Powell, Bluetooth SIG Executive Director. “This is great traction and the Bluetooth community continues to seek ways to further grow this market with technology enhancements that better address market needs, demonstrating the community’s commitment to driving innovation and enriching the technology experience of users worldwide.”
It’s likely to be a while before Bluetooth 5.1 makes it into smartphone and other gadgets, but we’ll keep you posted on that front.
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