Bluetooth® Mesh was specifically created to fulfill the demands of commercial and industrial environments, prioritizing ease of deployment, high performance, and robust security. Also designed to eliminate the need for specialized engineering expertise, installers can use applications that communicate directly with nodes on a Bluetooth Mesh network, thanks to Bluetooth technology being native in 100 percent of new smartphones and tablets. It is for these reasons that YUKAI Engineering, specializing in robot and hardware development, just released a development kit designed for device control and data collection utilizing the latest in Bluetooth technology: konashi 5.

I recently had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Takeshi Sagisaka from YUKAI Engineering about the development of this kit, designed to usher the world into a new era, courtesy of Bluetooth technology.

Q&A With Takeshi Sagisaka From YUKAI Engineering

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How does this solution utilize Bluetooth Mesh?

konashi 5 features not only Bluetooth® capabilities but also temperature, humidity, pressure, and acceleration/gyro sensor modules. By utilizing multi-hop Bluetooth Mesh communication alongside single-hop Bluetooth communication, it can extend the reach sensor data to greater distances and collect data from multiple points and in high-density scenarios. Additionally, konashi 5 comes with a customizable interface, allowing users to add additional sensors as desired and connect with other products. This flexibility makes it suitable for various Bluetooth product development purposes.

Why did you choose Bluetooth Mesh over other wireless technologies?

First launched in 2012, the concept behind konashi was to enable software engineers to easily create on their own. While other low-power wireless technologies like Thread can achieve mesh-type long-distance communication, there were challenges in that they could not connect directly with smartphones on their own. That is one of the advantages of Bluetooth Mesh, and we believe that the technology has reached a point where it is simply easier to create mesh networks with Bluetooth Mesh than any other wireless option.

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Are there any existing implementations, such as demonstrations or customer case studies, featuring this solution that you can share?

There are no case studies publicly available at this time as konashi 5 has only just been released in the market. However, at YUKAI Engineering, we are preparing demonstrations that involve the gathering of  large amounts of environmental data within offices, as well as long-distance, outdoor data transmission using the sensors integrated into konashi 5. We expect to publish these demonstrations in the near future.

What are a few potential possibilities and prospects that you foresee for Bluetooth Mesh in the future, within Japan’s market?

We have high expectations that this technology can contribute to the digital transformation (DX) of various industries via implementation in smart buildings, smart factories, and smart agriculture. Leveraging the long-established features of Bluetooth® technology, such as low power consumption and cost-effectiveness, Bluetooth Mesh enables stable data collection at a higher density than ever before. We believe that this will usher in a new era where valuable information can be easily and cost-effectively utilized by any industry.

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Bluetooth® Meshは特に商業および産業環境における要求を満たすために開発され、導入の容易さ、高性能、堅牢なセキュリティを優先しています。また、専門的な技術知識を必要としないよう設計されていることに加え、新しく出荷されるスマートフォンおよびタブレットの100%にBluetooth技術が搭載されていることによって、設置業者はBluetooth Meshネットワーク上のノードと直接通信するアプリケーションを使用できます。

Factory Mesh LI 1ロボットおよびハードウェア開発を専門とするユカイ工学は、このような理由から最新のBluetooth技術を活用し、つい先頃デバイス制御とデータ収集のための開発キット「konashi 5」をリリースしました。

先日、ユカイ工学の鷺坂隆志さんに、Bluetooth技術によって世界を新時代へと導くこのキットの開発についてお話を聞く機会がありました。

ユカイ工学の鷺坂隆志さんとのQ&A

1. このソリューションでは、Bluetooth Meshはどのように活用されていますか?

konashi 5にはBluetooth®︎機能の他に温湿度、気圧、加速度・角速度センサモジュールが搭載されています。1ホップのBluetooth通信に対しマルチホップのBluetooth Mesh通信を活用することで、それらのセンサデータをより遠くまで届けたり、より多点/高密度で収集したりできるようになります。また、konashi 5はカスタマイズ可能なインターフェースを備えており、利用者の望むセンサの追加搭載や別のプロダクトとの接続ができるため、Bluetooth製品づくりにも活用いただけます。

2. なぜ他の無線技術ではなく、Bluetooth Meshを選んだのですか?

2012年に販売開始したkonashiの製品コンセプトは、ソフトウェアエンジニアでも簡単にものづくりを実現できることです。Threadなど他の低消費無線技術でもMesh型の長距離通信が実現できますが、単体ではスマートフォンと直接接続できない課題がありました。Bluetooth Mesh技術はこの点にアドバンテージがあり、他のワイヤレス規格に比べBluetooth Mesh技術を活用することでより簡単にmeshネットワークを活用したものづくりができる環境が整ったと考えています。

Manufacturing Mesh LI 1200x628 13. デモンストレーション、または顧客事例など、このソリューションを実装した既存の事例で共有できるものはありますか?

現時点ではkonashi 5を市場に出したばかりのため共有できる事例はありませんが、ユカイ工学としてkonashi 5に搭載されたセンサを用いて、オフィス内での大量の環境データの収集や屋外での遠距離データ送信などのデモンストレーションを準備しており、近日中に公開できる見込みです。

4. 日本市場内でBluetooth Mesh技術の将来の可能性や展望について、教えてください。

スマートビルディング、スマートファクトリー、スマートアグリなど、産業のDX化へ寄与できる技術であると期待しています。低消費電力、安価であることなどのこれまでのBluetooth®︎技術の特徴を活かしながら、これまで以上の密度で安定してデータを集めることがBluetooth Mesh技術により可能になり、どの業界でも欲しい情報を簡単に、コストをかけずにデータ活用できる時代がくるのではと考えています。

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