The Battle Over Bluetooth Low Energy For IoT

March 19, 2015, 5:00 am

By Jordan Manser, Technical Writer

Over the last few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has grown from a mere concept of the future to a globally recognized trend where the possibilities for innovation are limitless and the potential for revenue is particularly enticing. Today there are a total of 1.9 Billion IoT devices deployed in various consumer and enterprise applications [1]. This is expected to grow to as many as 23.3 Billion by 2020 [2]. This level of opportunity has everyone wanting in on the action, specifically on the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) end.

In just a few short years, BLE has become a near ubiquitous technology, present in nearly all mobile devices that connect wirelessly. Designed with the IoT in mind, the Bluetooth SIG’s adoption of the Bluetooth 4.2 Core specification in December 2014 has secured BLE’s place as a key enabler for the IoT. The update delivers several performance improvements including enhanced security, flexible internet connectivity options (IPv6 Connectivity), and increased data throughput.

BLE’s success in the IoT hasn’t gone unnoticed, particularly by companies looking to buy their way into the IoT market. In fact, it seems that 2015 is just the beginning of a battle for market share among silicon vendors like Silicon Laboratories, who recently purchased BLE module manufacturer, Bluegiga Technologies Inc., for $61 million. Silicon Labs joins Texas Instruments, Nordic, Atmel, Microchip, Broadcom and Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR), to name a few, who are all vying for market share in the IoT.

In the next few years, the fight for dominance within embedded BLE silicon and module providers will continue apace and is, understandably, a concern for developers and manufacturers. As silicon vendors continue to compete for market share, it remains to be seen how engineers will be distributed following acquisitions. This then brings into question what level of Bluetooth support customers can expect if engineers are required to shift their focus to silicon.

Laird has successfully operated since 1824 and ensures stability and reliability to its current and potential customers. With years of experience in embedded BLE and enterprise grade Wi-Fi modules, Laird is a leading innovator and thought leader in the IoT specifically in the Enterprise. Laird is at the forefront of development, working closely with customers, partners, vendors, and organizations to identify problems associated with the Enterprise IoT (EIoT) and to work towards a global standard. Laird will be delivering new products, solutions, and systems to harness the power of BLE and Wi-Fi in the EIoT.

 

[1] Adler, Emily (2014, August 19). Here’s why ‘The Internet of Things’ will be Huge and Drive Tremendous Value for People and Businesses. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/growth-in-the-internet-of-things-market-2014-1

[2] Greenough, John (2014, January 16). The Corporate ‘Internet of Things’ Will Encompass More Devices than the Smartphone and Tablet Markets Combined. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/the-enterprise-internet-of-things-market-2014-12