Bluetooth LE: Running for Certification

The Blutooth Special Internet Group has released two new Low Energy certifications for health and fitness devices. The latest Bluetooth 4.0 standard (Bluetooth Low Energy), features a low-power capability. It can connect directly to fitness sensors that use tiny button batteries.

Until recently, makers of bike accessories and fitness devices like the Nike Run products had to use a proprietary ANT+ standard , on the 2.4 GHz band, to meet low energy requirments. The proprietary standard also required a separate dongle for smartphones.

Bluetooth 4.0, on the other hand, is a global standard, built right into a phone. The latest smartphones from Samsung, Apple, LG and HTC smartphones now include Bluetooth 4.0. No separate dongle required.

By conforming to the new standardized format for measuring and transmitting speed, distance, and cadence information, manufacturers can (hopefully) provide interoperability between devices. The Nike Fuel band used an earlier Bluetooth standard to transfer data to a phone or computer. The band didn’t act as a “live” hub for fitness sensors.

The Bluetooth Sports and Fitness Working Group and Sports and Fitness Bluetooth Ecosystem Team (BET) are open to Bluetooth members. The two new Bluetooth standards groups are for sensors that will measure elements such as running cadence, stride length, total distance, as well as cycling speed, distance and pedal cadence. They can then connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices like smartphones, sports watches and cycling computers.

Bluetooth technology has is already being used by products like the Nike+ FuelBand, Nike+ Basketball and Nike Training shoes, as well as Polar heart rate monitors, and other devices that connect directly to Bluetooth phones, watches and hubs.

Nike’s new high-tech sneakers, which went on sale June 29, are the first shoes with Bluetooth Smart sensors in them. Previously, Nike used the ANT+ standard for sensors, which required a plug-in iPhone module

Zigbee, X-10, Z-wave, Insteon, ANT+ and Bluetooth LE are all angling for a piece of the home controller/sensor market.

But only Bluetooth LE is likely to be embedded into smartphones.

ABI Research forecasts shipments of Bluetooth enabled sports and fitness devices will grow ten-fold from 2011 to 2016, totaling 278 million and representing over 60 percent of the total available market.

In it’s new report, IC Insights says Bluetooth unit shipments will grow 29% per year over the 2010-2015 time period.

Juniper Research predicts by the year 2014, there will be a total of 2.7 million annual mobile health monitoring events globally, generating some $1.9 billion at the end of 2014.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Real-time Running and Biking Apps, Bluetooth Bike and Fitness Sensors Get Smart , Polar Ships Bluetooth 4 Heart Monitor, HTC One S: Android 4 & Bluetooth Low Energy and FCC Okays Medical Body Networks, Wireless Control Expands Reach, Texting Clogs Cycling GPS Trackers at Olympics, Wireless Health Initiatives, Medical Devices Mobilize, Apps Enter the Twilight Zone, Mobile Health: Fast Growth , Open Source Tricorder and Mobile Health: Alive and Well.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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