For years, Cassia Networks has delivered reliable, long-range multiple-device connectivity, edge-processing, and location services solutions for Bluetooth® IoT networks. They support a wide range of markets, from the Industrial IoT (IIoT) and smart buildings to education and connected health.

“Over the years, we have seen these vertical markets invest more in Bluetooth IoT because of the value this technology can provide to their overall business.” 
Felix Zhao, Cassia Networks

I recently spoke with Felix Zhao, CEO of Cassia Networks, about how they use Bluetooth technology to solve the IoT connectivity, location services, and management challenges faced by today’s enterprises.

Q&A with Felix Zhao

Why have you chosen to use Bluetooth technology?

We have chosen to focus on Bluetooth technology because we see the tremendous long-term value Bluetooth offers for the IoT. Bluetooth is widely available (over 4 billion devices shipped per year), requires minimal power consumption, and is extremely low cost.

Cassia has developed technologies that include long-range, one-to-many pairing and connectivity, low cost, and an easy-to-use Bluetooth IoT management platform. Also, our technology does not require any changes to the Bluetooth protocol and/or Bluetooth end devices, which improves and extends the applications of Bluetooth for enterprise IoT. 

What projects are you currently working on that include Bluetooth technology?

Cassia Networks is currently working with ABB to deploy Cassia’s X1000 all-weather Bluetooth gateway and IoT Access Controller. This solution provides a range of benefits, including improved reliability for data collection over long distances, remote access and control, one-to-many connectivity, and edge computing as well as an easy-to-use centralized management platform.

This project showcases the long-term advantages of Bluetooth IoT and how it is benefitting these industries with reduced costs, improved scalability, enhanced reliability, and easy management.

We hope this project will influence other industrial companies to see the advantages of using Bluetooth IoT for their industrial applications. Since ABB is a recognized leader in this market, we are seeing other implementors follow their lead and choosing Bluetooth.

How does Bluetooth help you meet major market challenges?

Some of the major market challenges in the IIoT are the sensor battery life, reliability, and management complexity.

When using wireless sensors, having a long battery life is critical. Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) sensors like ABB’s Ability Smart Sensor have a long battery life (over 4 years), reducing the overall long-term operation and maintenance costs. Reliability is also important. Bluetooth provides seamless long-range connectivity and easy management; both of which contribute to improved reliability.

Lastly, high costs are a major market challenge. Bluetooth overcomes this challenge because it’s low cost, wireless, universal, and widely available. Long-range Bluetooth routers significantly reduce deployment costs because fewer routers are required to cover the same area.

Why is interoperability so critical for this project?

Cassia Networks is fully compatible with the Bluetooth standard. This provides a tremendous advantage in terms of easy integrations, reliability, and management. The ubiquity and interoperability of Bluetooth technology are critical for this project with ABB.

What would you tell someone who thinks Bluetooth is only a short-range technology?

This is a common misconception of Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth was originally developed as a short-range wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables for applications, such as wireless keyboards, headsets, etc. But over the years, Bluetooth technology has evolved and is now capable of distances over several hundred meters for open space communication. This can be further extended by several times with increased receive sensitivity and smart antenna technologies.

The overall range is dependent on a number of factors, such as environmental noise in the 2.4GHz frequency band, transmit power, receive sensitivity, antenna gain, physical obstacles, etc. Even with these potential limitations, solution providers now use Bluetooth devices at greater range and in ways never thought possible.

Can you share some examples as to how you’re using Bluetooth long-range capabilities in your innovations?

Along with our ABB project, Cassia Networks is also working with similar condition monitoring and predictive maintenance partners that leverage our Bluetooth gateways and IoT Access Controller to provide them with scalable, flexible, and secure connectivity. Because our gateways provide long-range, multi-device connectivity, fewer of them are needed to cover large areas. Therefore, our partner’s customers benefit from significantly lower deployment and maintenance costs. In addition, Cassia works with device manufacturers and system integrators across connected health, personnel and asset tracking, the smart campus, smart buildings, and more, leveraging our Bluetooth gateways and IoT Access Controller to help solve connectivity challenges.

What role do you see Bluetooth playing in emerging markets like smart building, smart industry, smart city, and smart home?

We envision Bluetooth technology playing a critical role in all of these emerging markets. For example, Bluetooth is powering location-based services like personnel and asset tracking, which play a key role in smart city, smart industry, smart building, and smart home markets.

For Cassia, our products are widely being used in these emerging markets to provide long-range coverage, improved reliability, easy management, and reduce overall costs.

What do you see next for Bluetooth?

Cassia’s project with ABB is currently implemented. We’re excited about the Bluetooth trends that are rapidly developing in the IIoT, and we are thrilled to be contributing to this growth. It’s exciting to see the advantages that Bluetooth technology can provide in verticals like healthcare, sports and fitness, and education. We look forward to working with industry leaders that want to adopt this technology.

In the coming months, we will have some exciting announcements regarding Cassia’s new product line that will be introduced to the market.

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