The New Bluetooth – Setting the stage for improved Direction Finding using Bluetooth low energy


The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has released today (1/28/2019) the details of the new features available in the new latest version of Bluetooth and we at Rigado are excited about the direction and progress. In this new version they have set the stage for significantly improved direction finding abilities of Bluetooth which will make it the preeminent protocol for asset tracking and internal way-finding, specifically for Smart Buildings.

Rigado has been helping our customers to build asset tracking applications using Bluetooth for many years now. We have some great use cases and applications, but, in some cases, it was a struggle to set up and to get the right level of accuracy. The new features can be more easily integrated into current applications to improve accuracy and, in some cases, add device direction. The key change is the addition to the Core Specification v5.1 for “Continuous Tone Extensions” which will enable gateways to either determine the Angle of Arrival (AoA) of a message from a Bluetooth device or enable the Bluetooth device to determine the Angle of Departure (AoD) of a signal from the gateway to the device. This AoA can be added to existing asset tracking solutions to improve accuracy. Application location accuracy levels that are now in roughly “meter” range can be improved to centimeter range. AoD can be added similarly to improve accuracy on internal way-finding applications.

Bluetooth AnnouncementBluetooth low energy (BLE) has been a great choice of protocol for asset tracking applications already based on its ability to also provide sensing and monitoring data in addition to location, its affordable gateway infrastructure, its long battery life, and the dropping cost of beacons and tags. The key takeaway from the announcement today is that the addition of device direction data and improved location accuracy that will soon be possible on top of the ability to get environmental data and the affordability of the components makes BLE the ideal protocol for asset tracking and monitoring in commercial IoT at scale.

Rigado is an active member of the Bluetooth SIG and we have two members on the Direction Finding Working Group to be able to lead the way with these new features to help our customers take full advantage of AoA for Commercial IoT use cases in Smart Buildings. We are in the midst of developing new gateway technologies that combine this new standard with current BLE asset tracking solutions allowing our customers to evolve their current solutions without needing a complete overhaul. Rigado is investing in AoA and is excited about what it will provide to the asset tracking market. Stay tuned by signing up for the Rigado newsletter to learn more…

Features details of the new release can be found at https://www.bluetooth.com/news-events/news. For more on asset tracking using BLE please watch our recent webinar “Asset Tracking at Scale Using Bluetooth Low Energy” presented by our CTO, Justin Rigling, a member of the Direction Finding Working Group in the Bluetooth SIG.