The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has adopted version 4.2 of the Bluetooth core specification, introducing improvements to the security of the technology that mean Bluetooth beacons are now unable to engage with smartphones without permission from the user and making it harder for eavesdroppers to track a device via its Bluetooth connection.
The new specification also increases the speed and reliability of data transfers between Bluetooth Smart devices and reduces both battery consumption and opportunities for transmission errors to occur. A soon-to-be ratified profile will also enable IP connectivity for Bluetooth Smart sensors.
“Bluetooth 4.2 opens up new opportunities for developers, OEMs and the industry to build a better user experience for consumers while creating use cases never before imagined,” the SIG says. “Bluetooth 4.2 introduces industry-leading privacy settings that lowers power consumption and builds upon the government-grade security features of the Bluetooth specification.
“The new privacy features put control back into the hands of the consumer by making it difficult for eavesdroppers to track a device through its Bluetooth connection without permission. For example, when shopping in a retail store with beacons, unless you’ve enabled permission for the beacon to engage with your device, you can’t be tracked.
“Bluetooth 4.2 increases the speed and reliability of data transfers between Bluetooth Smart devices. By increasing the capacity of Bluetooth Smart packets, devices transfer data up to 2.5 times faster than with previous versions. Increased data transfer speeds and packet capacity reduces the opportunity for transmission errors to occur and reduces battery consumption, resulting in a more efficient connection.”
“Building on the capabilities released earlier with Bluetooth 4.1 and the new features released in 4.2, the Internet Protocol Support Profile (IPSP) will allow Bluetooth Smart sensors to access the Internet directly via IPv6/6LoWPAN,” the SIG adds.
“IP connectivity makes it possible to use existing IP infrastructure to manage Bluetooth Smart ‘edge’ devices. This is ideal for connected home scenarios that need both personal and wide area control. This profile will be ratified by the end of the year.”
“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,” says Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. “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.
“Bluetooth Smart is the only technology that can scale with the market, provide developers the flexibility to innovate, and be the foundation for the Internet of Things.”