Bluetooth-enabled wireless audio is expected to grow to more than 250 million units by 2018 according to forecasts from ABI Research. But what does that actually mean, and what is Bluetooth? Essentially, Bluetooth is a way of connecting devices and people wirelessly, via headsets and speakers and consequently other devices, notably in-car equipment.
Then in 2010, new low-energy technology called Bluetooth Smart was introduced creating new markets, such as consumer electronics, fitness and leisure and medical. Using Bluetooth Smart, manufacturers can create sensor devices with the ability to operate on small batteries for as long as a few years. Now, Bluetooth Smart has been recognised as a “key enabler in the Internet of Everything” with ABI Research forecasting over 3 billion Bluetooth-enabled devices in 2014, and by 2018, over 10 billion such devices in the market.
Smart Bluetooth for the Home
Now that’s a lot of billions so how does this equate to the home automation market? Well, this technology will affect the management of lighting, security and energy management over the next few years. Bluetooth Smart-enabled sensor devices such as locks, lighting systems, thermostats and related stuff, are already available with applications stored directly on Bluetooth-enabled smartphones or tablets, and also in the cloud so that they can be used remotely. So far, it is really concentrated on the functional abilities, for example, locking/unlocking doors, turning lights on and off etc. The fine tuning of Bluetooth Smart however, can enable homeowners to use compatible devices to adjust heating and air-conditioning, take charge of their energy consumption and appliance energy usage.
And according to reports, some TVs and stationary media streaming appliances, (keep an eye out for Apple TV and Amazon’s new Fire TV and read about the pros and cons of both here http://thefusejoplin.com/2014/06/amazon-fire-tv-apple-tv-comparing-features-specs-price/ ) are geared up for home automation in the same way that mobiles and tablets work with Bluetooth Smart sensor devices, meaning that TVs and other entertainment consoles will be able to serve as the connectivity centre.
However there is one main drawback in Bluetooth Smart is its limitation in Android devices: although it supports all Apple iOS devices, smartphones and tablets operating on a version of Android before 4.3 may not support Bluetooth Smart device.
So keep your eyes open for Bluetooth Smart updates. Yet again, here is another innovation, or rather a progression, which is expected to affect the home automation market significantly. Managing home energy, lighting, security, audio or anything that can be remotely operated will be easier, cheaper and faster when Bluetooth Smart technology evolves in home automation.