The release of Bluetooth® Low Energy laid the foundation for mass adoption in the connected device market. Since 2010, there’s been a steady growth of Bluetooth Low Energy connected devices, and the need for and proliferation of the technology has led to the creation of a number of new connected device market segments, from everyday household items to health and wellness devices to next-generation enterprise innovations.
“Bluetooth Low Energy is the only wireless solution power efficient enough where you could build a product that could last a full year on a small coin-cell battery,” said Mike Farley, CEO and co-founder of Tile. “Plus, it is the only wireless solution that’s on your phone.”
The Bluetooth Low Energy radio is designed for low-power operation, providing developers with a tremendous amount of flexibility, multiple power levels, and security options up to government grade.
Even the wireless audio community, which relies on Bluetooth BR/EDR for audio streaming, is increasingly using dual-mode Bluetooth Low Energy chips to accommodate multiple use cases within audio devices. The 2018 Bluetooth Market Update forecasts that 97 percent of all Bluetooth chips shipped will include Bluetooth Low Energy technology by 2022.
According to the same report, more than 550 million Bluetooth point-to-point data transferring devices will ship this year alone. That number will increase to more than 850 million by 2022.
What’s behind this aggressive growth? The demand for the fast, energy-efficient, secure exchange of consumer, medical, and enterprise data has paved the way for a mass implementation of Bluetooth Low Energy for point-to-point data transfer and is forecasted to continue to drive adoption over the next five years.
“Bluetooth® came into the wearables conversation from the start,” said Dan Rosenbaum, Center Ring Media. “The connection between something you’re wearing on your wrist or in your ear that connects to your phone and to the larger world, the first step of that connection is a Bluetooth connection.”
It’s widely known that Bluetooth powers an extensive range of wearables, like fitness trackers and smart watches. These devices monitor steps, exercise, athletic performance, and sleep, using Bluetooth Low Energy technology to transfer that data in real time for quick sharing and review. And consumer wearables get more sophisticated with each passing year.
New fitness devices that offer more specialized, multi-purpose functionality have emerged and will continue to see consistent growth. The smartwatch market has also become more diverse and will maintain its steady growth trajectory. According to the 2018 Bluetooth Market Update, there will be 4x growth in annual smartwatch shipments by 2022.
Medical-grade devices are also on a steady climb. Demand for healthcare providers to better administer medication, diagnose injuries, and receive critical updates on their patients’ conditions is driving a 28 percent CAGR in Bluetooth healthcare wearables over the next five years.
Wearable medical devices have also become an important part of in-home care. Blood glucose monitors, pulse oximeters, asthma inhalers, and other medical wearables all use Bluetooth Low Energy technology to help administer medication, diagnose injuries, and transmit critical information securely from patients to providers.
“Wearables are going to be an incredibly important part of enabling and managing our parents and grandparents living at home longer in a safe way,” said Stuart Carlaw, ABI Research. “And that’s only enabled by the fact that we have a low-power, robust, standard platform like Bluetooth®. So, wearables play a really important part, not only in sports but also in enabling our society as well.”
Since the dawn of the smartphone, there’s been a bring-your-own-device phenomenon in enterprise environments, laying the foundation for using Bluetooth as an enterprise solution.
Enterprise wearables are now gaining significant traction. New enterprise use cases are driving a rapid growth in wearables in the workforce, including smart glasses and wearable scanners. With 102 million Bluetooth® enterprise wearables forecasted to ship in 2022, the enterprise segment is one of the fastest growing within the connected device market.
The enterprise use case becomes even more compelling due to the increased footprint of Bluetooth in commercial settings. Now, wearables can pair with sophisticated Bluetooth enabled location services capable of responding in real time to space utilization, as well as Bluetooth mesh networks that can create a full-building connectivity grid that is instrumental in smart buildings.
To learn more about how Bluetooth technology is impacting other wireless markets, download the 2018 Bluetooth Market Update.