Get Ready For The Bluetooth Smart Home
Time:2014-10-18 9:22:05

 event is happening as I write this, and while today’s news could add even more fuel to the Bluetooth momentum in the home of the future, there’s no doubt the technology that started out with fairly modest goals of being a personal area network has already become a key new technology for the smart home.

Sure, older technologies like Z-Wave and Zigbee are holding on, and while the dominant home networking technology in Wi-Fi is also taking hold in the modern smart home, Bluetooth is making strides as possibly the most intriguing of all the wireless technologies.

Part of the intrigue is that new smart devices with Bluetooth are popping up all over the place. Just this month two new smart locks with Bluetooth  to the market.  Linear, the company behind the hugely popular 2Gig smart home control panel (which is on track to ship its 2 millionth box this year) earlier this year that the next generation of the 2Gig will have Bluetooth in the device.  , a startup out of Poland, just had a coming out party in New York City this week for their Bluetooth centric smart home system.

Why all this action around a technology that was originally designed to connect a headset to your phone?

First and foremost, Bluetooth is pervasive. Practically every smartphone has a Bluetooth radio in it, making it pretty much everywhere. Secondly, in a future where things like locks will have wireless communication that needs to last for many months if not years, the technology has a leg up on other technology like Wi-Fi in that it was built to be a low-power radio.

Oort Bluetooth smart home system

Oort Bluetooth smart home system

But perhaps the biggest reasons are imminent improvements that are coming to Bluetooth. First off, the next version of the technology will utilize what’s called mesh networking, meaning that one Bluetooth radio can extend the distance it communicates by using the nearest other Bluetooth radio.  Put a few Bluetooth smart bulbs in your house, and pretty soon you have house-wide coverage.

But perhaps most important is the underlying software for Bluetooth, which uses standardized profiles (called  for the nerds in the audience) that make for nearly automatic connections with a Bluetooth smart home network. This stands in stark contrast to the likes of Zigbee, which has had serious issues with interoperability due to a fragmented software history.

Consider a future where any Bluetooth device you have, like a Fitbit or smartwatch, instantly connects to your locks, lights or thermostat, without any complex setup.  It’s this ease of connecting, combined with the pervasiveness of Bluetooth, that is pushing many smart home companies to design the technology into their systems.

And so while the battle for supremacy for the smart home is being joined by nearly every big consumer tech brand, there’s a good chance that many of the new hubs, gadgets and other gizmos that connect will be using a technology that’s already a household word.

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