From 5G-enabled smartphones and gaming devices to smart vehicles, smart industry, and smart cities, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. connects products and technologies you interact with every day. Qualcomm Technologies’ innovations power the Edge, delivering significant value across multiple industries and to billions of people every day.

Art Miller, VP business development and global head of retail IoT at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., recently had an opportunity to discuss Qualcomm Technologies’ involvement in developing a Bluetooth® standard for electronic shelf labels (ESL) and the effects this standard will have on the industry.

Q&A With Art Miller From Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

What has been Qualcomm Technologies’ involvement in the Bluetooth® Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) Profile and Specification?

Qualcomm Technologies and SES-imagotag participated in the Bluetooth SIG working group to help establish the new standard with the end goal of creating a scalable, ultra-low power, security-rich, standard-based electronic shelf label (ESL) to enable retailers to improve operational efficiencies, empower employees, and enhance their customers’ experiences.

2302 ESL IMG 1 1200x628

What is Qualcomm Technologies’ experience with electronic shelf labels?

Qualcomm Technologies powers ESLs and enables multi-function capabilities. We participated in the development of the Bluetooth® standard, both the new feature in the Bluetooth Core Specification (PAwR) and the profile. We collaborated with SES-Imagotag to create retail solutions that use and extend the standard. We helped define the system architecture and end-to-end security for standards-based ESLs, and Qualcomm Technologies developed a new chipset to enable Bluetooth ESLs.

To create a successful ESL for the retail market, an ESL should support ultra-low power, reliable communication, seconds-bound latency, end-to-end security (protocol-based and beyond), low cost, multiple vendor interoperability, scalability (able to handle 100K+ devices), and have the ability to transfer several kilobytes of data across a large number of devices.

What is the current state of ESLs, and why is it important to have a standard-based technology for ESLs?

ESLs have seen a steady uptake over the last decade and an even more aggressive adoption over the last few years. However, until now, ESL systems have relied on proprietary protocols for wireless communication, not only creating potential barriers to global adoption but also limiting retailers to create a single, smart retail ecosystem. Because of this, ESLs have yet to reach their full potential.

The introduction of a single, standards-based ESL solution is an important milestone for the industry because it provides retailers with a one-stop shop for their wireless communication needs from everywhere within the ecosystem. Whether it’s back-of-house, on the store floor, or checkout, there are numerous devices that need to communicate effectively with each other. The new Bluetooth® ESL standard should alleviate these problems and unlock new opportunities for retailers like never before.

What benefits do Bluetooth ESLs bring to retail and industrial markets, and what other market opportunities exist?

ESL opportunities certainly extend beyond retail. Industries such as manufacturing can benefit from dynamic parts management or workflow instruction. In office environments, ESL can provide a way to personalize shared space as hoteling or reserved space becomes more common. The applications and benefits of ESL are as varied as fixed signage or paper tags are today.

Bluetooth® technology allows retailers and other industries to benefit from a broad ecosystem of solutions providers instead of being dependent on proprietary implementations from a single OEM. Utilizing Bluetooth technology also helps to unify communication between multiple devices within a store or industrial setting.

ESL icon


Bluetooth Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL)

With the introduction of a wireless standard for the electronic shelf label (ESL) market, Bluetooth® technology is helping unlock the next chapter in in-store digital transformation to deliver better retail outcomes for both stores and shoppers.


How will Bluetooth ESLs improve operational efficiencies?

Updating traditional paper price tags is time consuming and sometimes burdensome. In some cases, store employees would need to print and re-tag store shelves several times a day. As omnichannel retail continues to grow, the frequency of pricing updates will continue to grow. In addition, as buying online, pickup at the store, and delivery demand increases, picking efficiency by store associates or third-party services will need to be more efficient. Bluetooth® ESLs can enable retailers to better manage and automate pricing, saving countless hours and employee resources as well as improving picking efficiency.

What is the range of Bluetooth communication for ESLs?

The range of a Bluetooth® signal can be quite impressive these days. In a typical deployment, the star topology defined between central (access point) to peripherals (ESL) can be within a radius of 10 to 15 meters. However, this all this depends on the amount of energy an ESL is willing to consume for transmitting its responses.

Can Bluetooth enabled ESLs be used in environments with high levels of interference, such as retail stores with a lot of electronic equipment?

2302 ESL IMG 2 1200x628

The standard approach taken by Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) of frequency hopping has been demonstrated to be a suitable solution in most configurations. Unavoidably, there will always be a context where any RF systems will fail. Current deployments in large retail spaces have so far proven this assertion. 

Fortunately, ESLs have limited exposure to these channels. As they only need to rely on them during the initial onboarding phases, ESLs will spend the vast majority of their lifecycle away from these and only use the whole set of available data channels. Furthermore, the ESL protocol has been designed to not create interferences that would increase as the number of deployed ESLs increase. Interferences between the access point (central) is limited to the probability of co-selection of the data channel – this will be naturally low on the basis of two key parameters, namely, random selection of the access address (a seed to the hopping frequency channel selection) and temporal diversity of the initiation of the periodic advertisement train per the access point.

What is the expected battery life of Bluetooth® enabled ESLs, and what is the cost of implementation as compared to other technologies?

A typical coin-cell battery will allow an ESL to stay in communication for many years, typically five to seven years. It is important to understand that the power cost is dominated, not by the protocol, but by all the adjacent functions associated with an ESL – mainly the refreshing of the display.

Unification of the ESL protocol as part of the Bluetooth® standard should bring economies of scale that will make Bluetooth technology more competitive than proprietary solutions. However, the actual cost of the ESL is primarily driven by many factors, such as display size, power requirements, access-point deployment, etc.

Master Icon File Paper


How the Bluetooth® Electronic Shelf Label Standard Will Impact the Smart Retail Market

ABI Research explores how the recent arrival of the new Bluetooth® Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) standard will help create an interoperable ESL ecosystem that can address many of the challenges being faced by retail and other environments.



先日、クアルコム・テクノロジーズの事業開発バイスプレジデント兼リテール部門責任者であるアート・ミラー(Art Miller)氏に、電子棚札(ESL)Bluetooth®︎規格の開発における同社の関わりと、この規格が業界にもたらす影響についてお話を伺う機会がありました。


クアルコム・テクノロジーズがBluetooth®︎ ESLのプロファイルと仕様にどのように関わってきたか教えてください。

当社はSES-imagotag とともに、Bluetooth SIGのワーキンググループに参加し、新しい規格の策定に協力しました。この規格の最終目標は、 小売業者の業務効率化、従業員の裁量拡大、顧客体験の向上を可能にする、拡張性が高く超低消費電力で、セキュリティ機能豊富な標準規格ベースのESLを生み出すことに置かれました。


2302 ESL IMG 1 1200x628

クアルコム・テクノロジーズはESLの実現を支え、より幅広い機能拡張を可能にしています。当社はBluetoothコア仕様の新機能(PAwR レスポンス付き定期アドバタイズ)とプロファイルの両方でBluetooth®︎規格の開発に参加しました。SES-imagotagと協力し、規格を使用、拡張する小売市場向けソリューションも開発しています。標準規格対応ESLのシステムアーキテクチャとエンドツーエンドのセキュリティの策定に協力し、Bluetooth ESLを実現するための新しいチップセットを当社で開発しました。




単一かつ標準規格ベースのESLソリューションの登場は、業界にとって重要な節目です。これによりエコシステム内のあらゆる場所から、小売業者のワイヤレス通信に関するすべてのニーズに対して、ワンストップで応じることが可能になります。バックヤード、売り場、店内レジなどには数多くの電子機器があり、効率的に相互に通信できる必要があります。新しいBluetooth®︎ ESL規格はこうした課題をより対処しやすくし、小売業者に対してかつてない新しい可能性を切り拓きます。

Bluetooth ESLは小売業や市場にどのようなメリットをもたらしますか。ほかにどのような市場で活用できる可能性があるでしょうか。



Bluetooth ESLはどのように業務効率を向上させますか。

従来の紙製の値札の表示変更には時間がかかり、作業的にも大きな負担です。店舗従業員は、場合によっては1日数回にもわたり、商品棚の値札を印刷しては貼り直す作業を必要とします。オムニチャネル型の小売業が拡大するにつれ、価格を変える頻度も増えています。その上、オンライン購入、店舗受け取り、配送需要の拡大によって、店舗従業員や外部事業者によるピッキング作業の効率化も求められています。Bluetooth®︎ ESLによって、小売業者は価格表示の管理と自動化の効率向上を図ることができ、時間と労力を大幅に節約できます。また、ピッキング作業の効率向上も可能です。

Bluetooth ESLの通信範囲



2302 ESL IMG 2 1200x628

干渉対策としては、Bluetooth®︎ LEの標準的な対応方法である周波数ホッピングが、ほとんどの設置形態において適していることが分かっています。どのような無線周波数システムでも、機能できない環境が出てくることは避けられません。このことは、現在の大型店舗での導入で明らかに示されています。


Bluetooth®︎ ESLのバッテリー寿命はどの程度の予測でしょうか。他の技術に比べ、導入コストはどの程度となるでしょう。



How Bluetooth Technology Is Supporting the Ambient IoT

The Ambient IoT is the next stage of evolution for IoT devices. It is…

From Suppliers to Shoppers: How IoT Streamlines Supply Chains

To the average consumer, a product or service is simply an object or entity…

Security & Scalability: Navigating the Bluetooth LE Landscape for Retail

Bluetooth LE is a game-changer for the retail industry, enabling new levels of connectivity,…

Periodic Advertising with Responses (PAwR): Bidirectional Bluetooth Advertising Is Now Possible

If you’ve wondered whether advertising in Bluetooth Low Energy can be bidirectional, then this…

Recently Released: New Trends for Bluetooth Device Networks新たに公開:Bluetoothデバイスネットワークの新トレンド

Though more commonly associated with audio streaming and wearable devices, Bluetooth® technology also plays…

Now Available: New Bluetooth Market Research公開中:Bluetooth市場調査レポート

The Latest Bluetooth Market Research For the last few years, the Bluetooth Special Interest…

Silicon Labs Provides an In-Depth Look at Bluetooth Trends We Can Expect to See in 2024

A global provider of secure, intelligent wireless technology for a more connected world, Silicon…

Pointr Shares Insight Into Bluetooth Location Services Trends We Could See in 2024

Pointr – an indoor location services provider that specializes in mapping, positioning, and wayfinding…

Accessing the IoT Ecosystem

IoT has been an emerging technology for many years. It first appeared on the…

Everything You Need to Know About Bluetooth 5.4

Bluetooth 5.4 introduces support for bi-directional, large-scale, one-to-many networking, driven by wireless standardization needs…

Mr. Beacon Podcast on Electronic Shelf Labels

Kayla Myrhow discusses Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) powered by Bluetooth® technology. ESLs are changing…

ABI Snapshot - How the Bluetooth® Electronic Shelf Label Standard Will Impact the Smart Retail Market

ABI Research Senior Director Andrew Zignani and Bluetooth SIG’s Senior Product Marketing Manager Kayla…

How the Bluetooth® Electronic Shelf Label Standard Will Impact the Smart Retail Market

ABI Research explores how the recent arrival of the new Bluetooth® Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) standard will help create an interoperable ESL ecosystem that can address many of the challenges being faced by retail and other environments.

The Importance of Standards in the Smart Retail Market

Retailers are increasingly looking towards Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to help them deliver…

 Get Help