A global provider of positioning and wireless communication technologies for the automotive, industrial, and consumer markets, u-blox creates solutions that let people, vehicles, and machines determine their precise position and communicate over wireless networks.

“Bluetooth® is a robust, long-range technology well suited for non-consumer applications and use cases.” 
Pelle Svensson, u-blox

Business Development Manager of Industrial and Medical Markets in u-blox’s Short-Range Product Center Pelle Svensson recently spoke with me about how u-blox is using Bluetooth® technology to empower customers to develop innovative solutions for industrial and commercial environments.

Q & A with Pelle Svensson

Which markets does u-blox support, and what solutions do you provide?

We support a range of markets with our GNSS receivers and our 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity solutions. We started by selling GNSS receivers to automotive OEMs and Tier 1s to enable satellite-based navigation solutions and wireless communication solutions for in-vehicle entertainment systems. Our product portfolio, which already enables vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity, will eventually contribute to enabling autonomous driving.

As they lie right on the intersection of positioning and wireless communication, tracking solutions have been an obvious market for our products, including people, pet, vehicle, or asset tracking. In the medical sector, our solutions include connected medical devices for blood glucose monitoring, as well as real-time patient monitoring for use in the clinic.

Our industrial customers use our solutions to connect sensors to controllers and the cloud, to remotely control machines, and to enable human-machine interfaces. Other common industrial use cases include asset tracking and connecting power tools in assembly lines, as well as on construction sites where they facilitate tool configuration, tracking, and diagnostics.

Smart buildings leverage our wireless connectivity to enable smart lighting, HVAC, and access control, and security and surveillance systems. And, finally, smart cities integrate our technologies to set up city-wide mesh networks for device monitoring (e.g., for electric cabinets), smart-parking solutions, EV (electric vehicle) charging stations, and smart-utility metering.

Why use Bluetooth technology?

Back in 1998, ABB Corporate Research evaluated Bluetooth in harsh industrial environments, including concrete, steel, and EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) noise. The results were excellent.

This led some of my colleagues at ABB to found connectBlue, which focused on providing Bluetooth connectivity for industrial automation applications and use cases by delivering end products and pre-certified modules. I joined connectBlue from the Ericsson Bluetooth Division shortly thereafter. connectBlue was acquired by u-blox in 2014.

For many of our customers, long-range – or, rather, good-link budget – is critical to use cases where distances are important or where signals are obstructed by obstacles. Waste-water plants are examples of the former, while remote controls for truck cranes, where the person holding the remote control and the receiver are often on opposite sides of the truck, are an example of the latter.

As early as 2005, connectBlue developed modules achieving ranges of more than 1.5 km with Bluetooth Basic Rate/Enhanced Data Rate (BR/EDR). With the latest version of Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), we are once again able to provide long-range features for low-power devices – often a prerequisite for Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications.

Back in the early days, the common chorus on Bluetooth® among industry players was: “It’s a few-meter-range technology. There’s no way we can use it in industrial applications.” We constantly had to educate the market about the long-range capabilities of Bluetooth. And, while customer awareness has improved tremendously, we still occasionally must do so.

FEATURED RESOURCE

The Bluetooth Range Estimator 

Calculate the expected range between two Bluetooth devices.

TRY IT NOW

What location services or smart building spaces are you currently in?

Two examples come to mind. One of our Swedish customers delivers products and services for construction site management. They recently launched a product that combines GNSS and Bluetooth® to keep track of equipment on individual construction sites as well as within an entire city. And then there is a smart city project we are currently involved in with city of Lund in Sweden, ABB, Schneider Electric, and other partners. There, the application is to monitor power distribution cabinets throughout the city using Bluetooth mesh. The network, once in place, can be used as a communication backbone for a whole host of additional applications, such as environmental data sensing.

What would you tell technical decision makers, product managers, and the like who may be considering wireless protocols for commercial and industrial projects that have longer range requirements?

We spent almost 20 years convincing the market that Bluetooth® is a robust, long-range technology well suited for non-consumer applications and use cases. For years, we delivered Bluetooth solutions with ranges over one kilometer, and many of our customers in non-consumer markets make use of the range and link budget Bluetooth provides.

Bluetooth is good for tough applications, and the solutions we developed using the technology prove it. In this article, Seven reasons why Bluetooth is perfect for the Industrial IoT, we’ve distilled down the arguments we give our potential customers in favor of using Bluetooth in the Industrial IoT.

 

FEATURED PROGRAM -> JOIN THE MEMBER PROMOTION PROGRAM

Bluetooth Member Promotion Program

Are you a Bluetooth member designing innovative wireless solutions? You may be eligible to participate in the Bluetooth Member Promotion Program.

Learn More

How Battery-Free Bluetooth Sensors Are Helping to Enable the Demand Chain

Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion around the supply chain. And as crisis…

Thread vs Bluetooth: Which Is Best For Smart Homes And Buildings?

There are a million reasons why smart home technology is on the rise. Read…

Using Bluetooth To Safeguard RTLS Innovation

One of the exciting aspects of working in technology is that you are always…

What Makes Bluetooth Beacon-Based RTLS Systems Successful?

183 million, that’s how many location-services Bluetooth® devices shipped in 2021 alone! What’s even…

More Storage Space At The Push Of A Button

Thanks to Swiss-based Fruchtlänge 7, LEGIC and dormakaba, everyone can acquire additional storage space…

Rethinking Workspaces

How spatial intelligence & occupancy tracking solutions help to overcome corporate real estate business…

Orange Business Services Fires Up Safran Aircraft Engines With IoT

Orange Business Services (OBS) has cracked a new problem for manufacturers with the Internet…

Bluetooth Technology for Micro-Location: A Necessary Union of Accuracy and Security

The many advantages of Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) – such as low power consumption…

Podcast - The Growing Role Of RTLS In Retail

Marta from ThinkIn and Jesse from Quuppa talk about the benefits RTLS bring for…

Penn Waste Inc. Minimizes Machine Downtime And Improves Efficiency

Learn how Dodge Industrial partnered with Cassia Networks to help Penn Waste Inc. reduce…

Bluetooth Direction Finding Training

This training video explains how Bluetooth direction finding brings a new dimension to indoor…

The Myths & Facts About Bluetooth® Technology as a Positioning Radio

Watch this detailed discussion into the challenges and opportunities in front of indoor location…

2022 Bluetooth Market Update

Featuring new market insights and industry forecasts from ABI Research and other analyst firms...

Tapkey Enables Mobile Access

Key-based locking systems are going out of fashion: Today, cars are opened by radio…

Bluetooth Direction Finding Fundamentals

Bluetooth Angle of Arrival (AoA) and Angle of Departure (AoD) are new technologies that…

Bluetooth Location Services

See 8 use cases for enhancing building efficiencies and creating a better visitor experience, discover new data that supports the latest trends and forecasts, and find out what’s driving the rapid adoption of location services solutions.

Smart Solutions Using Network Lighting Infrastructures

An intelligent network lighting control infrastructure helps business owners and staff know more about…

IoT Technology Offer Solutions for Supply Chain Woes

Many small issues and slowdowns can be removed with the power of Bluetooth networks…

Tile is working with Lenovo to help you find your lost laptop

Announced at CES 2022, Tile and Lenovo are teaming up to make ThinkPad X1s…

Getting Started With Bluetooth For High Precision Indoor Positioning

This white paper provides an introduction to Bluetooth high precision indoor positioning, explores what…

2021 Bluetooth Market Update

Supported by updated forecasts from ABI Research and insights from several other analyst firms, the Bluetooth Market Update highlights the latest Bluetooth trends and forecasts.

How Bluetooth® Technology is Enabling Safe Return Strategies in a COVID-19 Era

This report shares insight into how Bluetooth® technology is being leveraged by organizations of all sizes to…

Lighting as a Platform

See how connected lighting systems are being used as a platform to enable advanced building services like wayfinding, asset tracking, and space utilization to improve the ROI of smart building investments.

Build a Smarter Building with Blue

See how Bluetooth increases reliability, reduces costs, and enhances your smart building ROI.

An Introduction to Bluetooth Beacons

Learn how to build your own Bluetooth beacon or integrate beacon technology into your existing products and apps.

 Get Help