The Expanding Role of Bluetooth in Smart Buildings


While the needs and use cases of today’s smart buildings can be similar in nature, depending on building type, the size of the deployment environment can significantly impact the requirements and priorities. Whether the demand is for lighting, sensor networks, or asset management solutions — it’s important to have a reliable and secure interconnected network of devices.

The innate interoperability of Bluetooth® technology not only ensures compatibility with internal systems from various vendors, but also with the personal devices used by building visitors and staff. As Bluetooth SIG Senior Director of Business Strategy Chuck Sabin outlined in his recent presentation, The Expanding Role of Bluetooth in Smart Buildings (video above), Bluetooth technology is well positioned to support a wide range of smart building services — from automation and control to condition monitoring and location services.

Automation & Control

Automation and control is the traditional service associated with smart building and supports a wide range of connected lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and security solutions. As Sabin notes, connected lighting has generally emerged as the key use case, and Bluetooth mesh networking was developed for and is therefore ideally suited to meet the requirements of connected lighting systems.

With Bluetooth mesh, the lighting solution was already designed to suit large-scale commercial applications. But it can also scale down to smaller smart home applications as well. Rather than trying to figure out how to take a specification and scale it up, Bluetooth working groups ensured the specification was at the top of the scale and could move down as necessary.

Condition Monitoring

Sabin explains how data for decision making is important with any business and that Bluetooth Low Energy is ideally suited for establishing sensor networks that can monitor critical components. Being notified as equipment falls outside tolerances provides the ability to predict failure and establish a proactive work plan from within the building. Having a robust solution for condition monitoring that is looking after essential equipment can save time, money, and resources.

Location Services

Sabin provides an overview of how Bluetooth technology has been on the forefront of enabling indoor positioning and wayfinding solutions as proven by a proliferation of beacons in the market. According to ABI Research, we can expect to see 10x growth in location services by 2022. Leading companies like Cisco, Aruba, Kontakt.io, and others have already integrated location services as part of their in-building network to support asset tracking, wayfinding, and ultimately advising businesses on better space utilization as well.

Building Smart with Blue

New and innovative deployments around smart buildings will only continue to advance. For example, while connected lighting is emerging as the key use case for building automation, lighting as a platform (LaaP) is emerging as a model for deploying additional services like asset management, environmental sensors, and indoor location/navigation. With these roles in mind, it’s no wonder that there are so many leading companies developing and deploying smart building solutions with Bluetooth technology.

Watch the video above to learn more about the expanding role of Bluetooth technology in the smart building.

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