Advances in Bluetooth Smart Controls
Bluetooth is disrupting the lighting control industry with its Bluetooth mesh networking standard and pushing the boundaries of what the industry thought could be done with lighting.
The technology has the potential to turn the lighting installation into a digital backbone – an ‘Internet of Things’ platform which would allow other technologies, services and tasks.
The seed for the disruption was sown when the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) ratified the Bluetooth mesh networking protocol in 2017, having designed the standard specifically to address the challenging requirements of commercial wireless lighting control.
The move followed three years of research and effectively boosted Bluetooth technology’s reach far beyond the typical range that’s familiar to consumers sharing things like audio files among smartphone, computers, tables, TVs, and other devices.
As it’s a mesh topology, the enabled luminaires don’t need to be in direct radio range as messages are relayed from device to device at the speed of sound. As well as covering large buildings, the technology could cover collections of buildings such as university campuses.
There’s no central point of failure, and robust ‘multi-casting’ of the ultra short messages with a fast data transfer rate means high reliability.
Additionally, earlier this year Bluetooth announced a direction-finding capability.
Bluetooth enabled lights are already widely used to power positioning systems and proximity solutions that increase the value of commercial lighting infrastructures.
Now, the direction finding feature allows devices to determine the direction of a Bluetooth signal, thereby bringing even greater value to those location services by enabling development of wayfinding and asset tracking solutions that achieve centimetre-level accuracy and improving the user experience for common item finding and point-of-interest information solutions.
Potential applications will allow optimizing of warehouse operations, underground parking, security and lighting/HVAC control of buildings.