The next stage of evolution for IoT devices, the Ambient IoT refers to a new class of connected devices primarily powered by harvesting energy from any viable ambient source. These devices were built from innovative form factor designs and support low-maintenance or maintenance-free operation.

Recently, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) commissioned ABI Research – a global leader in analyzing, tracking, and forecasting the transformation of the smart device and IoT markets – to establish guidelines for understanding the Ambient IoT and evaluate the role of Bluetooth® technology in addressing Ambient IoT use cases.

Defining the Ambient IoT

The Ambient Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a new class of IoT devices primarily powered by harvesting ambient energy from radio waves, light, motion, heat, or any other viable ambient energy source.

The Ambient IoT is an extension of the existing IoT. Ambient IoT devices carry out many of the same functions as IoT devices and target many of the same use cases but require additional design choices to meet solution demands. By relying on energy harvested from ambient sources, the Ambient IoT makes it possible to develop lower-cost, smaller, and maintenance-free devices, allowing the IoT to become more scalable in existing use cases and in use cases still to be developed. For instance, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), depending on the use case and environment, may choose to make self-sustaining devices, assisted by batteries or capacitors, by powering them with ambient energy. Alternatively, they may decide to go a step further and create battery-free devices with more flexible form factors and a lower bill-of-materials (BOM) cost.

Harvesting energy from ambient sources generates only minimal amounts of power. This creates the inherent requirement for Ambient IoT devices to be less complex and more power efficient. This can be addressed by optimizing the radio protocol and adding features, such as embedded intelligence, to make devices wake up and collect or transmit data less frequently.

Ambient IoT MRN Fig 1
Defining Attributes, IoT Hardware Evolution, and Applications of Ambient IoT (Source: ABI Research)

The market opportunity for this new class of IoT devices is extensive. Ambient energy harvesting devices today are primarily centered on short-range wireless connectivity, particularly Bluetooth® technology. Looking ahead, there is widespread interest in comprehending and aiding the development of this emerging category of devices. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), overseeing cellular standards, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), responsible for Wi-Fi and network standards, and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), responsible for Bluetooth® technology standards, are engaged in consultations with IoT developers. They aim to explore ways to facilitate the growth of the Ambient IoT. This collaborative effort underscores the cross-industry support and commitment to defining and supporting the Ambient IoT.

Master Icon File Paper


The Ambient IoT – The Emergence of a New Class of Bluetooth® IoT Devices

This report defines the Ambient IoT, outlines targeted use cases, and highlights the next steps needed to capitalize on the Ambient IoT opportunity. It also explains the central role of Bluetooth® technology in addressing Ambient IoT use cases, characterized by its low power consumption, low cost, flexibility, interoperability, and scalability.


Why We Need the Ambient IoT

The Ambient IoT addresses the needs of technology adopters by expanding the IoT in directions that are impossible to achieve with traditional devices. Key ways in which the Ambient IoT will contribute to the expansion of the IoT include:

  • Maintenance-Free Devices: Maintaining IoT installations in the field can be a time-consuming and costly exercise, adding a layer of complexity to operations that the IoT is designed to make more efficient. Ambient IoT devices can be deployed in autonomous settings without maintaining a continuous power supply or replacing batteries. Low-maintenance or maintenance-free devices can change paradigms for return-on-investment (ROI) calculations by guaranteeing the longevity of deployments.
  • Low Complexity and Cost: The Ambient IoT continues the trend toward lower cost and simpler devices. By relying primarily on ambient energy sources, the Ambient IoT will encourage the design of devices that communicate less frequently and are designed to fulfill specific functions, driving an evolution away from highly configurable devices streaming real-time data.
  • Sustainable Devices: Replacing batteries, or throwing away battery-powered devices, is a challenge to the sustainable growth of the IoT. According to the European Union (EU)-funded project, EnABLES, a forecasted 78 million batteries will be discarded daily by 2025, assuming an average two-year battery life for IoT devices. Harvesting energy from ambient sources can create longer-lasting and self-sustaining Ambient IoT devices, whether by extending the life of battery- or capacitor-powered devices indefinitely or by removing batteries from devices entirely.

As technologies supporting the Ambient IoT devices mature, and support ambient energy harvesting, use cases outside of goods tracking and monitoring will multiply. Use cases span many vertical markets. In industrial markets, potential use cases involve sensor-based monitoring of machine conditions, equipment status, environmental conditions, or electronic labeling. In commercial markets, use cases include building automation and control, air quality monitoring, and electronic shelf labels (ESLs) in retail markets. In consumer markets, use cases include personal tracking or various home automation systems. As these use cases demonstrate, the Ambient IoT will initially serve existing IoT applications with a new device class. As the market expands, it will help create entirely new application areas. The image below highlights some key statistics for markets that the Ambient IoT can target.

Ambient IoT MRN Fig 3
Ambient IoT Opportunities and Key Market Statistics (Source: ABI Research)

Evolving the IoT

The emergence of Ambient IoT devices represents a significant leap in the evolution of IoT devices, offering a promising future for the IoT ecosystem. By relying on ambient energy sources, the Ambient IoT enables the development of lower-cost, smaller form factor, and maintenance-free devices, thus opening new possibilities for IoT applications across various industries.

The market potential is extensive with early adoption focused on short-range wireless connectivity, particularly Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) technology. Bluetooth LE will play a central role in the evolution of the Ambient IoT. From a technology perspective, it is a leading, very low-power protocol that supports a wide range of network topologies and is available on many low-cost ICs. From an ecosystem perspective, Bluetooth® LE is an open, standard-backed technology that promises long-term support and feature evolution. Consequently, it has built a large developer base and a ubiquitous installed base of dedicated or multi-use infrastructure, facilitating further solutions built with the technology.

To learn more, read the full report: The Ambient IoT – The Emergence of a New Class of Bluetooth IoT Devices. This report helps define the Ambient IoT and outlines the role Bluetooth technology plays in its evolution.

Read the full report.

Master Icon File Paper


The Ambient IoT – The Emergence of a New Class of Bluetooth® IoT Devices

This report defines the Ambient IoT, outlines targeted use cases, and highlights the next steps needed to capitalize on the Ambient IoT opportunity. It also explains the central role of Bluetooth® technology in addressing Ambient IoT use cases, characterized by its low power consumption, low cost, flexibility, interoperability, and scalability.



先日Bluetooth SIG(Special Interest Group)は、アンビエントIoTを理解し、アンビエントIoTのユースケースにおけるBluetooth®技術の役割を精査するための指針を確立するため、ABI Researchに調査を依頼しました。同社はスマートデバイスおよびIoT市場の変革に関する分析・追跡・予測分野の世界的トップ企業です。




Ambient IoT JP 1
アンビエントIoTの属性、IoTハードウェアの進化、用途の定義(出典:ABI Reserch

アンビエントIoTデバイスの市場機会は広範囲に及びます。現在、環境発電デバイスは、主に近距離無線接続、特にBluetooth®技術が中心となっています。そして、この新たなカテゴリーのデバイスを理解し、その開発を支援することに広い関心が寄せられています。携帯電話の規格を統括する3GPP(3rd Generation Partnership Project)、Wi-Fiやネットワーク規格を統括するIEEE(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)、Bluetooth®技術規格を統括するBluetooth SIG(Special Interest Group)の3団体は、IoT開発企業との協議を続けています。これらの関係者が目的としているのは、アンビエントIoTの成長を推進する方法の模索です。この協力的な取り組みは、アンビエントIoTの定義とサポートに対する、業界を超えた支援とコミットメントを体現しています。



  • メンテナンスフリーのデバイス:現場におけるIoT設備のメンテナンスには時間とコストがかかり、効率化をもたらすはずのIoTに、複雑な手順を追加します。アンビエントIoTデバイスは、継続的な電力供給やバッテリー交換を必要とせず、自律的な設定での実装が可能です。デバイスのメンテナンス頻度が少ない、またはメンテナンスフリーであることにより、長期間の運用が保証され、投資収益率(ROI)計算のパラダイムが変わります。

  • 複雑さとコストを抑える:アンビエントIoTは、「より低コストでよりシンプルなデバイス」を求める現在のトレンドに合致します。主に環境エネルギー源を利用することにより、アンビエントIoTは、より通信頻度が低く特定の機能を満たすためのデバイスの設計を促進します。これにより、リアルタイムデータのストリーミングを伴う、高度な設定が可能なデバイスから距離を置く形での進化が促されます。

  • 持続可能なデバイス:IoTにおける持続的な成長の観点から、現在、バッテリーの交換や、バッテリー駆動機器の廃棄が課題となっています。欧州連合(EU)が資金を提供するプロジェクト「ENABLES」は、IoTデバイスのバッテリー平均寿命を2年と想定し、2025年までに毎日7800万個のバッテリーが廃棄されると予測しています。周囲のエネルギー源からの環境発電は、より長寿命で、それ自体が持続性を持つアンビエントIoTを生み出します。そうしたデバイスは、バッテリー駆動またはコンデンサ駆動のデバイスの寿命を限りなく延ばすことにより、あるいはデバイスからバッテリーを完全に取り除く形で実現されます。


Ambient IoT JP 2
アンビエントIoTの可能性と主要な市場統計(出典:ABI Research



アンビエントIoT市場のポテンシャルは大きく、特にBluetooth® LE技術をはじめとする短距離無線接続では早期から採用が始まっており、市場は拡大を続けています。Bluetooth LEは、アンビエントIoTの進化において中心的な役割を果たします。Bluetooth® LEは、技術面では最先端の超低消費電力プロトコルであり、幅広いネットワークトポロジーに対応し、多くの低コストICで利用できます。また、エコシステム面では、オープンかつ標準によって支えられた技術として、長期的なサポートと機能の進化が約束されています。そのため大規模な開発者ベースが存在し、専用あるいは複数用途のインフラストラクチャのいずれにおいてもインストール済みのデバイスが遍在しており、この技術を用いたソリューションの構築を強力に後押しします。

詳しくは、「アンビエントIoT:Bluetooth®︎ IoTデバイスに新たなクラスが登場」のレポート本編をご覧ください。本レポートではアンビエントIoTがどのようなものであるかを解説し、その進化の中でBluetooth技術が果たす役割をまとめています。


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