Bluetooth Evolution: Unlocking Growth In Next-Gen Tech
Bluetooth evolution in the coming years will see it branch out into a number of technologies making up the wider IoT landscape, according to ABI Research.
ABI forecasts that through to 2021, Bluetooth-enabled device shipments will increase by an average of half a billion per year, reaching more than five billion, with Bluetooth 5 enabling new technical enhancements, mesh networking and IP support for existing Bluetooth Low Energy chipsets.
Bluetooth 5, delivering enhanced range and speed, is slated to arrive in late 2016 to early 2017.
Extending beyond cable replacements and smartphones, Bluetooth’s employment in the wider IoT landscape will “result in the development of larger-scale networks that no longer rely on the smartphone as a hub”.
“Bluetooth is evolving from a smartphone and personal area network solution to a scalable, low-power wireless networking technology,” Andrew Zignani, ABI industry analyst, observed.
“This development will unlock growth in beacons, home automation, building automation, lighting, and other smart city applications over the next decade and beyond.”
Meanwhile, connected home market growth, from speakers to smart televisions to game consoles, combined with Bluetooth Smart or Smart Ready devices, will continue in the coming years to help drive the market to a much greater scale.
Smartphones will still account for 40 per cent of Bluetooth product shipments by 2021, however representing a 12 per cent drop in volume share from 2015, according to ABI, and continue to drive the mobile accessory market.
With less reliance on physical ports for mobile and computing devices, notably headphone jacks, ABI states Bluetooth accessories are poised to further grow volume share, expected to capture 13 per cent of total Bluetooth product shipments by 2021.
ABI points to beacons as one of the largest opportunities for Bluetooth-enabled devices, with it to be the third largest market for Bluetooth devices, and the fastest growing of all segments, by 2021.
Despite taking some time to mature, the smart home market will also see significant growth, with the market’s major advancement stemming from home automation devices, smart lighting and smart appliances.
“As we move forward, Bluetooth will gain market share at the expense of low-data-rate technologies, like Thread, ZigBee and Z-Wave, and power hungry technologies like Wi-Fi,” Zignani stated.
“While the ubiquitous presence of Bluetooth in smartphones is critical in the short to medium term, mesh networking and other new features will help Bluetooth take advantage of new opportunities across the IoT in the years ahead.”