Bluetooth 5.1 will improve location accuracy


The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is on the case for location, location, and is striving to make everything find-able. Bluetooth 5.1 has been announced as an update with enhanced support for location services and the latest 5.1 spec is now available for developers.

Objects pinpointed down to the “centimeter-level” (0.4in)? Nice. Jon Fingas, Engadget: “Bluetooth SIG has introduced direction finding support in its 5.1 standard to make location tech far more precise and overall useful.”

Down the road, the enabled detective work will have an impact in retail, health care and manufacturing. The Bluetooth news release said “the new feature allows devices to determine the direction of a Bluetooth signal, thereby enabling the development of Bluetooth proximity solutions that can understand device direction as well as Bluetooth positioning systems that can achieve down to centimeter-level location accuracy.”

Bluetooth is all about “connections,” as a standard for simple wireless connections. Computer Business Review said it is “used by developers looking to stream audio between devices, transfer data between devices, build asset tracking solutions, or create large device mesh networks.”

Bluetooth is all around us. Rick Merritt in EE Times: “Existing Bluetooth location services are accurate down to less than 10 meters based on signal strength and are used in museums, retail stores, and consumer asset trackers. London’s Gatwick airport uses more than 2,000 Bluetooth beacons to guide travelers.”

João Carrasqueira, Neowin, said that “Location services nowadays rely on more than simple GPS tracking – smartphones, for example, use technologies such as Wi-Fi to help improve the accuracy of location services. Now, Bluetooth is also set to become a better way to detect a device’s position.”

The Bluetooth SIG is the trade association that oversees Bluetooth technology; the SIG delivers the enhanced specifications. The SIG also helps global interoperability with a product qualification program.

The new enhanced support for Location Services touts this “direction-finding feature.” The update enables location services “accurate to within 10 centimeters thanks to a new direction-finding capability,” said EE Times.


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