As the Internet of Things (IoT) era approaches quickly, the Bluetooth standard that will play a key supporting role in the IoT ecosystem needs an update. Even though the Bluetooth 4.1 standard was only recently released, with only a handful of devices on the market that support the protocol, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) believes that the emerging issues of privacy within the IoT ecosystem as well as speed and efficiency warrant an update.
“Bluetooth 4.2 is all about continuing to make Bluetooth Smart the best solution to connect all the technology in your life – from personal sensors to your connected home. In addition to the improvements to the specification itself, a new profile known as IPSP enables IPv6 for Bluetooth, opening entirely new doors for device connectivity,” said Mark Powel, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, in a statement. “Bluetooth Smart is the only technology that can scale with the market, provide developers the flexibility to innovate, and be the foundation for the IoT.”
For privacy improvements, Bluetooth 4.2 allows users to set whether they want their device to be discovered or not by Bluetooth beacons. Bluetooth beacons were first introduced in Bluetooth 4.0 and were advertised as a way for stores to track customers and provide them with information relevant to their in-store shopping experience. With Bluetooth 4.2 users can create rules as to which beacons can activate their device, effectively creating a whitelist.
Bluetooth 4.2 will also feature a 2.5 times increase in bandwidth thanks to a 10x increase in packet capacity. Bluetooth 4.2 will also be able to support IPv6, and offer direct connectivity to the Internet.
It’s not yet known when devices supporting Bluetooth 4.2 will be released on the market.