Ready for the New Bluetooth® 5.4? – What You Should Know First
The release of Bluetooth® 5.4 is being met with a lot of excitement. IoT device makers and application developers alike are increasingly wondering when they can start developing with it. Why the excitement? What's new, and what are the key features of this iteration?
Bluetooth® Technology – Constantly Evolving, Always Improving
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has released the newest version of Bluetooth technology – Bluetooth 5.4. The Bluetooth Specifications in Development site will tell you that the Bluetooth SIG typically works with at least 50 active specification development projects at any given period, which could include adding minor features to adding significant functionalities of the existing Bluetooth technology. It is, therefore, not surprising to see key specification projects that include features that benefit various industries within the IoT space.
Below are the major ways our portfolio can maximize the new Bluetooth 5.4 features:
What Improvements and New Features Can You Expect from Bluetooth® 5.4?
One of the main improvements in Bluetooth 5.4 is the bi-directional communication with thousands of end nodes from a single access point. The rapidly growing Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) market will highly benefit from this feature by allowing the use of the current standard-based Bluetooth wireless communication.
Now let's take a closer look at two new features of Bluetooth 5.4:
Periodic Advertising with Responses (PAwR)
PAwR will allow the implementation of a time-synchronized star network with bi-directional communication using an enhanced Periodic Advertisement with a Response feature. This feature adds the capability for devices that receive data from a periodic advertiser to respond to the transmitter of the periodic advertiser. Additionally, devices can be allocated to groups, allowing them to listen only to their group's transmissions. The key benefit of this feature is the capability to support massive-sized star network implementations powerfully and efficiently.
Encrypted Advertising Data (EAD)
EAD adds the ability to encrypt advertising data. Encrypted advertisement data can be received by any device but can only be decrypted and authenticated by devices that have previously shared the session key. The significant benefit of this feature is that it allows for the encryption of data shared over periodic advertisement with responses.
Bluetooth SIG is also developing a standardized Profile and Service that will regulate communication with the Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) devices utilizing the new features of Bluetooth 5.4. For more information on these specifications in development, visit the publicly shared Bluetooth SIG on ESL/PAwR.
What Industries Benefit from Bluetooth® 5.4?
Bluetooth 5.4's PAwR feature can support huge star network implementations in a highly powerful and efficient way. Because of this, the retail industry, along with the Electronic Shelf Labels and Shelf Sensor devices market, will highly benefit from this feature. This feature is a worldwide standard that supports and fuels the growth of this market segment.
Additionally, Bluetooth now enables tools to implement several thousands of node star networks while efficiently utilizing radio traffic with ultra-low power consumption. The upcoming Bluetooth ESL Profile and Service specification utilize these new Bluetooth features to provide a standardized method to implement the ESL devices.
Access to the Bluetooth ESL Beta package can be requested by raising a Salesforce ticket with the following:
- Select for the OPN: EFR32BG22C224F512GM32 or EFR32BG22C224F512GM40
- In the body of the ticket mention the following
- “Request for Bluetooth ESL Early Access”
- Specify your company name as stated in the Bluetooth SIG directory
Learn more about Silicon Labs' broad Bluetooth offering for IoT – including the Bluetooth Low Energy SDK, Bluetooth chips (SoC and module hardware), and security with the world's first PSA Level 3 security certified hardware.