All Categories

The Ultimate Guide to Bluetooth Low Energy

Bluetooth Low Energy

Technology has become the differentiator between a flourishing business and a dying one. It is one of the most crucial parameters that govern productivity, efficiency, growth and value creation at a work place.

From analytics to data backed decision making, from optimizing day to day business operations to enhancing customer experience and fulfilling customer expectations, technology has transformed the businesses cutting across market verticals.

Use of IoT in industry 4.0 is deemed the driving force behind this fourth industrial revolution. Although industry 4.0 also entails various other technologies like Cloud computing, Big Data, Simulation, Augmented reality, Additive manufacturing, System Integration, Autonomous Robots etc., use of Internet of Things (IoT) is a significant one.

Bluetooth Low Energy is a versatile wireless IoT technology that is trending across various industries like retail, healthcare, education, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, utilities etc.

What is BLE and How it Works?

Bluetooth low energy, BLE, is a Bluetooth based protocol that is known for low power consumption and intermittent signal it transmits as a Bluetooth beacon.

It works on the same principle as Bluetooth classic but allows data transmission with low latency and low power consumption.

The reason behind industry wide BLE adoption is low cost of implementation in short range as well as ubiquitous smartphones and tablets that can read the data transmitting from the BLE beacons.

How BLE is Different than Bluetooth Classic?

In 2006, Nokia developed a specification that aimed at addressing various features that common wireless technology didn’t have, low power consumption was one such feature. Nokia named it Wibree. It was later in 2009 merged with BLUETOOTH 4.0 and christened as Bluetooth LE specification that is now upgraded and promoted by Special Interest Group (SIG).

Bluetooth low energy is based on similar specifications as Bluetooth classic however it differs in data transfer rate and latency and power consumption.

Bluetooth classic clocks a data transfer rate (over the air) of 1-3Mbps while BLE has higher data transmission rate (up to 24Mbps) resulting in low power consumption in BLE devices.

Bluetooth low energy is far more efficient than Bluetooth Classic as it uses higher bandwidth (2MHz) in comparison to Bluetooth classic (1MHz).

Bluetooth LE (Bluetooth 5.4) also offers periodic advertising with response (PAwR), encrypted advertising data (128 bit AES encryption same as Bluetooth Classic), and authenticated and unauthenticated pairing.

A BLE device is able to run off a coin cell battery for several years. Another important thing that should be noted is that Bluetooth classic and Bluetooth LE, both are compatible with same device (say a smartphone) as both use the same 2.4GHz ISM frequency band.

How BLE is different than RFID?

Bluetooth low energy is a wireless IoT tool just as RFID. Both of them find application in short range data transmission and communication. While Radio Frequency Identification has larger market size and growing rapidly in the sector of retail, supply chain, healthcare, education, asset management, security etc., BLE is quite popular with advertising applications in transport, retail, smart homes and smart city projects. The vertical markets are not exclusive though.

While BLE uses high frequency radio waves (2.4GHz), RFID uses low frequency radio waves (125KHz, 13.56 MHz and 860-960 MHz) than BLE to transmit data.

In terms of efficiency RFID is more efficient when it comes to tracking assets. BLE can also help you track assets once you divide the space into several zones and track the BLE beacon signals.

The cost of deployment depends upon the no. of RFID readers, RFID tags, antennae, BLE beacons are employed to perform the task. With Low energy consumption, BLE is an obvious choice in shorter spaces than RFID, although the cost of RFID tags and RFID readers is coming down heavily, it might be a good option as well.

Applications of Bluetooth Low Energy:

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), due to its low energy consumption and ubiquitous nature of smart phones and tablets, finds many applications in retail, FMCG, healthcare, fitness trackers, education, supply chain, smart homes and smart city projects.

By employing Bluetooth LE beacons in malls, at airport, at railway platforms, bus station, and healthcare facilities, BLE can be used to broadcast valuable information to consumers and flyers.

It can also be used in BLE advertising where coupons, flyers, discount brochures, menus, new seasonal stocks, membership benefits etc. can be transmitted and can be read on consumer’s smartphone.

In healthcare, BLE beacons can be used to monitor heart-rate, blood glucose etc. and to alert individuals about the same.

  • Last updated on Apr 11, 2023
Scan the QR code
Click to Chat