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Bluetooth technology trends within emerging markets

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Within traditional markets, Bluetooth has long been associated with consumer devices such as phones, audio, PCs and tablets – so much so that consumers now expect and view it as a required feature. Recent innovation has shown just how flexible Bluetooth integration is. Within emerging markets, Bluetooth has become a go-to solution. Recent data predicts the sheer volume of Bluetooth-enabled technology is expected to thrive within the next five years.

This year’s Bluetooth Market Update reports new trends in emerging Bluetooth markets, and shows the increased global adoption of Bluetooth technology across industrial and commercial sectors. Here are the key takeaways from the 2019 update, and which emerging markets for Bluetooth technology that you should keep an eye on:

Bluetooth powering smart buildings

Smart buildings are effectively any structure that uses processes of control, monitoring or automation in conjunction with the building’s operations. These include security, ventilation, heating, lighting and other systems. Smart buildings use sensors, actuators and microchips in order to collect data and manage it according to a business’ functions and services.

Bluetooth-enabled solutions continue to be used by retailers as a means of enabling personalised promotions and wayfinding services that increase sales, reduce operating costs and create better customer experiences. Meanwhile, healthcare facilities can use these devices to monitor patients, track assets, and advance emergency services to provide better patient care, combat cost pressures, and improve operational efficiencies.

From space utilisation to wayfinding, Bluetooth also helps create operational efficiencies and improve the occupant experience in smart buildings. According to the Bluetooth Market Update, the future of smart buildings is in location services, which is expected to dominate smart building forecasts through to 2023. Thanks to recent advancements in the technology and the January 2019 release of a new direction-finding feature, the momentum will only increase in this market.

In addition, many leading manufacturers have announced long-term product plans for lighting automation and control systems and, as such, connected lighting solutions are on the rise. With a 6.5x projected increase in annual shipments and a 46 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2023, commercial building automation and security solutions are likely to see continual growth over the next five years.

Bluetooth in the smart industry

Smart industry incorporates connecting process, machines and people with the use of new production technology.  This allows businesses within smart industry to integrate varied and expansive IoT information streams in their process, using innovative technologies including big data processing, connected systems, nanotech and 3D printing.  

Bluetooth is currently at the forefront of a convergence of smart industry and information that is creating a precedent for an industrial IoT revolution, helping manufacturers drive new levels of efficiency, productivity, and safety. Bluetooth is connecting critical components of a manufacturer’s value stream, keeping machines, people, and processes in lockstep, while driving new levels of efficiency, productivity, and safety.

Manufacturers and distributors are able to optimise inventory management and increase operational efficiencies through management solutions and asset tracking. Growing at an annual rate of 47 per cent and forecasted to account for 70 per cent of market shipments in 2023, commercial deployments of Bluetooth asset tracking and management solutions are setting the pace for the smart industry.

Recent trends show, enterprise wearables are also gaining substantial traction. They currently make up 34 per cent of smart industry device shipments in 2019. It is expected that enterprise wearables, such as scanners, hearables, trackers, and other equipment, will continue to see strong growth with a 28 per cent CAGR over the next five years.

Bluetooth driving the smart city revolution

Through connectivity, Bluetooth is enabling tomorrow’s smart cities to enhance the quality of life for citizens, improve the visitor experience, and create a more business-friendly environment.

The latest version of the Bluetooth Core Specification supports an optional feature that allows for the detection of signal direction. By identifying the angle of signal arrival at the receiver’s end or determining the angle of signal departure at the transmitter’s end, a Bluetooth device can determine direction and signal accuracy down to the centimetre level – ultimately transforming how devices can be detected within even the most complex buildings.

Location services deployments in smart city venues lead the forecast, as Bluetooth location services in airports, stadiums, hospitals, retail outlets, tourism centres, and museums transform how visitors interact with a smart city. At the same time, asset management solutions increase utilisation of smart city resources to help lower operational costs.

Predictions from Gartner forecast that revenue for IoT applications will be $53.2 billion in 2023, growing at an 11 per cent CAGR from 2018 through 2023.

The future of Bluetooth

Since its inception, Bluetooth has played an integral role in traditional markets, solidifying its position as a standard feature in consumer devices in addition to securing global brand recognition. Moreover, the future looks bright as Bluetooth continues to play a critical role in emerging industrial and commercial markets around the world.

Chuck Sabin, Senior Director, Market Development, Bluetooth SIG