Last month, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced yet another new Bluetooth® spec, called Bluetooth 5. This new release, out at the end of this year or early next, quadruples the range and doubles the speed of the previous spec. When they hit the market, Bluetooth 5-enabled devices will be able to connect at speeds up to 50 Mbps and distances up to 800 feet. To put this in perspective, that’s like connecting your phone to a device over two and a half football fields away!
I’ve seen quite a bit of banter about how people will use this new technology. Much of it centers around the improvements and range and potential for indoor navigation. I’ve even seen articles about how the new Bluetooth capability will allow you to walk outside without losing connection. However, I’m less excited about this because, like the current Bluetooth capability, my hearing doesn’t extend through buildings either.
I’m surprised by how few people are talking about advantages of the increased speed. Nowadays, Bluetooth devices and wearables are limited to audio and data only: smart watches and Bluetooth speakers and headsets. If this is of interest to you, you can check out things like a Promotional Bluetooth Speaker which can be customised and is available in different designs. However, I can’t help but wonder
if the new spec will promote a breakthrough in video devices. At 50 Mbps, it would be possible to stream HD video over Bluetooth.
Just think of all the possibilities this opens up!
These are just some examples of what could be engineered when this new technology becomes available.
Of course there are technical hurdles that need to be addressed. Battery life is probably very high on that list. There are also the issues of increased processing power and the memory required to encode and decode video streams as compared to audio. Only time will tell if it’s practical to stream video with Bluetooth 5. But I can’t wait to find out.