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Exploring the Use Cases for BLE in Smart Cities

“In smart cities, BLE technology is used for positioning and navigation, proximity-based information broadcasting, smart transportation, and security, promoting smart healthcare, education, and tourism.”

They say technology is the biggest equalizer in the 21st century giving access to smartphones, TV, education, healthcare, etc. to everyone. In the recent coronavirus pandemic, a developing country such as India managed the great feat of vaccinating the entire adult population with limited technological resources and saved millions of lives. The use of technologies such as IoT, AIDC, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, etc. to help create smart homes, smart villages, smart cities, etc. is an aspiration that every country should look forward to. Technology holds the key to unlocking a new height of sustainable human living standards across the world and technology like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is playing an important role in this endeavor.

A smart city is a concerted effort to bring multiple technological solutions together creating an enhanced living experience for city residents as well as boosting tourism that results in a significant increase in city revenue. The use of IoT technology such as BLE and RFID for managing traffic, transportation, utilities, healthcare, and education forms the basis of a smart city with smart amenities.

History of BLE

BLE is a modern-age IoT (Internet of Things) technology that was first developed by Nokia with the name Wibree. It was meant to have the same features as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other short-range technologies using radio Frequency but low energy consumption. With Bluetooth 4.0 specification coming up in 2010, BLE was a reality and the low energy consumption was the biggest highlight. By 2021, BLE beacon deployment crossed the 400m mark, and the no. is growing rapidly.

BLE is known for its low energy consumption but what it excels at is Proximity advertisement using the PAwR (Proximity Advertisement with Response) which forms the basis of many inventions such as health/vital monitoring devices, fitness trackers, smart watches, proximity ads in retail stores, Electronic Shelf labels, information broadcasting beacons on airports and railway platforms etc.

Let’s see some of the use cases of Bluetooth low energy (BLE) in smart cities, making life easier for residents and tourists.

Indoor Navigation with BLE

One prominent use case of BLE is positioning and indoor navigation felicitating micro-location with advanced signal processing and phase-based distance measurement. This enables a higher degree of precision in tracking and positioning with accuracy to the centimeters.

Exploring the Use Cases for BLE in Smart Cities

Smart city infrastructure

BLE can be used for managing and monitoring smart city infrastructure such as streetlights, traffic signals, and waste management systems.

In smart cities, BLE technology is used to control infrastructure assets such as lighting, rubbish bins, and utility meters. By incorporating BLE sensors into these assets, city officials may remotely monitor performance, assess usage trends, and identify maintenance concerns in real time. The proactive approach to infrastructure management allows for faster interventions, lower operational costs, and improved overall dependability and safety for people.

Home automation with BLE

Smart homes build smart cities. The BLE technology can be leveraged for home automation systems such as smart lighting, temperature control, and BLE-based security systems allowing for better living standards.

Enhanced Public transport services

BLE beacons can be used in public transport systems to provide real-time information about arrivals and departures, as well as to help passengers navigate through stations.

Public Safety and Emergency Management

BLE technology improves public safety and emergency response capabilities in smart cities via a variety of applications. For example, BLE-enabled wearable devices worn by walkers and bikers can inform authorities in the event of an accident or emergency, allowing for quick reaction and help. Similarly, BLE beacons located in public locations such as parks and shopping malls may send out location-based emergency alerts and evacuation directions during times of crisis, assuring the safety of inhabitants and tourists.

Smart healthcare with BLE

The BLE technology also combines continuous glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters in the smart healthcare facilities available in a smart city leading to better patient outcomes and improved living.

BLE can also be used in healthcare applications such as remote monitoring of patients, smart medical devices, and mobile health applications. Smart healthcare uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to transform patient care, monitoring, and administration. BLE-enabled wearable devices, such as fitness trackers and medical sensors, enable patients to track vital signs, activity levels, and medication adherence in real-time. These devices link effortlessly to mobile applications and cloud platforms, allowing healthcare practitioners to remotely monitor patient health data and respond proactively in the event of irregularities or crises. Furthermore, BLE-enabled medical equipment, such as smart pill dispensers and glucose monitors, enhance medication and chronic disease management, resulting in better patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

Information broadcasting

BLE can be used for connectionless applications such as information broadcasting in smart cities which can be quite useful for residents as well as tourists.

Mesh networking

BLE mesh networking technology can be applied to various use cases in smart city development allowing for better services to residents. This will also help people in the time of emergency and quicken the emergency services response. BLE mesh networking also improves city administration.

The proximity advertisement with BLE at low power consumption forms the basis of a wide range of BLE applications in homes, hospitals, educational institutions, shopping stores, and departmental stores. In a smart city, BLE can enhance people's movement, manage traffic, and improve living. It also gives an opportunity to businesses in marketing and advertising to ensure that correct products and services reach interested people, that too at a low cost.

To summarize, as smart cities expand and embrace digital transformation, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology emerges as a key driver of innovation and advancement. From revolutionizing transportation systems and infrastructure management to improving public safety and citizen involvement, BLE has a wide range of applications that help cities become more efficient, sustainable, and livable.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.


  • Created on Jun 16, 2023

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