We are excited to be participating again this year in the Bluetooth World event in Santa Clara, CA September 18th & 19th. As usual, the industry will gather to assess and promote Bluetooth’s place in the low power wireless technology landscape. According to the Bluetooth SIG the tech industry is projected to ship 2.05 billion Bluetooth devices in 2018, and 100% of all smartphones, tablets, and laptops shipped in 2018 will include Bluetooth. The traction of Bluetooth in the Consumer IoT market space appears overwhelming. However, the same cannot be said for the Commercial IoT space – a space that, due to the nature of the architectures and size of deployments, has been projected to be exceedingly larger over the next decade. Just think of tracking and monitoring of every cow in a field, office and hospital room, warehouse pallet, and building light fixture, just to hint at a very few of the commercial use cases being proposed. The key is that ubiquity and ease of connecting are more important factors in the Consumer space than in Commercial. The idea of a proprietary protocol for a new wireless headset for your cellphone sounds like an immediate product failure, whereas the same proposal for monitoring occupancy of 10,000 office desks in a closed enterprise system, that will only be used by an application (not a person directly) analyzing space utilization, does not sound that crazy, especially if it is more efficient, lower cost, and easier to implement at scale. Herein lies the challenge for Bluetooth.
In Consumer IoT the tablet and cellphone have been the center of computing and connectivity both to the devices and to the cloud. In Commercial IoT mobile devices cannot be counted on for regular connectivity and computing. In Commercial IoT Bluetooth needs low TCO edge gateways in the infrastructure to provide the connection point between the devices and the cloud. In addition to connectivity, this gateway offers an opportunity for edge data storage, computing, and security. Unfortunately for Bluetooth, it also opens the door for competing low power wireless protocols. In these commercial environments, where the installation burden is no longer borne by the consumer and is instead pushed to technical IT staff, there is an opportunity for lesser known, maybe harder to set up and install, but maybe “better” protocols for specific needs and applications to get into the solution consideration. The competition for Bluetooth here is real and the Bluetooth SIG will need to act quickly to assert a similar level of dominance in Commercial IoT as it has been able to gain in Consumer IoT. This battle is just beginning but we are in a critical time for gaining early market share.
For much more on this topic please join Rigado CTO, Justin Rigling, at Bluetooth World at the Santa Clara Convention Center September 18 at 10:40am PT in the Keynote Theater for his presentation “Unlocking Bluetooth’s potential as the leader in Commercial IoT infrastructure.” You can also find him at Rigado’s booth 233 during other times of the show. If you cannot make it to Santa Clara please contact us and we can setup a time to discuss any questions you might have. Here’s to Bluetooth’s future!