What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) in Intelligent Sensing

There is a difference between Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth. If you're interested in using BLE technology for beacons, there are a few different components that you should know about. These components all help create beacons that use Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate. This article will explain each component and help you decide whether you need them in your business.

Over the last 9 years, Bluetooth low energy enabled devices have gained traction of the IoT market worldwide. The following statistic shows forecast market volume of Bluetooth low energy devices worldwide, from 2013 to 2020.
forecast market volume of Bluetooth low energy devices worldwide
Source: Statista

What is Bluetooth Low Energy

Bluetooth Low Energy, also known as BLE, is a wireless technology that uses the 2.4 GHz radio band to communicate with other devices.

A BLE communicates by broadcasting data. It is a form of unidirectional communication in which two devices communicate without establishing a connection. Peripheral and central devices can use this type of communication for different purposes. Broadcasts are multicast, and a client device can receive them as long as it is nearby. This type of communication is not secure, but it has many applications.

This wireless technology uses 40 separate frequency channels separated by two MHz. Three are primary advertisement channels, while the remaining 37 are secondary data channels. Bluetooth communication starts on the primary channels and offloads to the secondary ones. Low-energy Bluetooth is built into most new smartphones and tablets. Android phones and tablets may support BLE or a different version of Bluetooth. Bluetooth Classic devices may not work with BLE.

The BLE specification defines a series of attributes called characteristics. These characteristics are similar to object-oriented language's member variables. Representative characteristics include heart rate and volume. They can be Read-Only or Write-Only. Writing a new value to a characteristic is analogous to invoking a "setter" in an object-oriented language. Characteristic descriptors provide more information about the characteristics. These attributes are used to store information about the device.

Difference between BLE and Bluetooth

There are several differences between Bluetooth Low Energy and its older cousin, Bluetooth. Bluetooth Low Energy is based on a series of layers, including the Generic Attribute Profile (GATT), the Link Layer, and the Generic Access Profile (GAP). Each layer has different responsibilities and a particular method of communication, and a BLE device can implement more than one profile at once.

While "classic" Bluetooth is intended for consumers, Bluetooth Low Energy is aimed at the industrial sector. It is designed to report small amounts of information in a short period. Because BLE uses less power, it has a lower acquisition cost and can be deployed more quickly. It also enables devices to operate for more extended periods before recharging. In addition to a lower acquisition cost, BLE devices can transmit more information over a wider area than Bluetooth.

The underlying technology behind Bluetooth low energy is a highly versatile wireless communication standard. It can communicate with many different interfaces and devices. Bluetooth standard requires a high battery capacity, and frequent recharges, whereas Bluetooth low-energy devices can run for years on a small battery. Bluetooth low energy is also very fast at transferring complex data. It means it will be easier for businesses to implement low-power applications and increase productivity.

Another difference between BLE and Bluetooth is the number of channels they use for communication. Standard Bluetooth uses a fixed channel, and BLE uses 40 two-MHz channels. BLE uses a gaussian frequency shift modulation (GFSM) to smooth out data pulses and reduce interference. A direct sequence spread spectrum is also used to minimize interference among BLE devices. This feature is available in most smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices.
Difference between BLE and Bluetooth

How does BLE work

It has two main layers - a physical layer and a link layer. The physical layer communicates with the other devices, while the link layer is responsible for encoding and decoding data. Bluetooth Low Energy devices also use the L2CAP protocol to ensure communication security.

When Bluetooth connects two devices, a connection event is initiated. This event enables the devices to exchange user data. These packets are sent out at a fixed interval called Connection Interval. The two devices exchange data at every connection event. Each device transmits data once in a while and can communicate with each other over several channels. The devices use 37 channels for data and three channels for advertisement.

BLE uses a General Attribute Profile (GATT) to communicate over a Bluetooth link. This GATT profile is the basis for most current BLE application profiles. You can use several other profiles defined by the Bluetooth SIG, and your device can implement as many as it supports. Once it helps the GATT profile, it can communicate with other BLE devices.

Bluetooth low-energy beacons

Bluetooth low energy beacons are devices that operate on Bluetooth low energy principle. They are like machine emitters that constantly emit radio signals over short, regular intervals for other devices to receive. The information transmitted is in the form of letters and numbers. BLW beacons consist of a CPU, lithium-ion batteries, and a radio. They contain a unique ID transmitted to the receiving device, which then forwards it to a designated cloud server to retrieve information in that beacon.

Different beacon applications have additional coexistence requirements. Some may only require centimeter-scale ranges, while others require multiple hundreds of meters. The Bluetooth low energy core specification allows for a maximum of 10 dBm, so you may need to experiment with your beacons to determine which ranges are best for your application. You may also need to consider how many beacons you must operate simultaneously.

One of the primary uses of beacons is in advertising, and the technology is already widely used for advertising. Advertisements can promote products and services, and beacons can run on a coin-cell battery for years. Depending on their usage, beacons can transmit both static and dynamic data. These beacons are easy to install and use. Typically, they can run for years on a single coin-cell battery. The technology that powers Bluetooth low-energy beacons is already available in various applications. It's ideal for proximity marketing, location-based technology, and other purposes. It can help businesses and users better understand each other. For instance, Bluetooth low-energy beacons can improve asset tracking in logistics and transportation. In some applications, Bluetooth low-energy beacons can track assets in real-time. It can even help companies with data privacy.

Applications of BLE

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a technology that uses less power than other types of Bluetooth. It works over the same 2.4 GHz ISM frequency band, and the devices stay in a low-power state until they initiate a connection. BLE devices can run for years on tiny batteries and transfer complex information quickly. This technology benefits wearable technologies, smart homes, and other novel applications.

These applications range from augmented reality glasses to smart wearables that display important data while cycling. Using Bluetooth low-energy technology can improve an athlete's performance and results. A smartphone can connect to a fitness tracker using BLE. Other applications of BLE include smart locks, remote controls, and sensors. It can read the heart rate from the device and even check the battery level. In addition, some environmental sensors allow you to read sensor values over a BLE connection. Other devices can sound an alert when the connection is lost. No matter your industry, you'll find the BLE technology in use. These devices are becoming increasingly popular.

Another use for Bluetooth low energy is in asset tracking. iNetra has developed an intelligent tracking system incorporating BLE into the mix. The technology can provide real-time location information using multiple beacons tagging the same badge. Bluetooth low-energy devices can also facilitate worker certifications by enabling worker credentials to be verified. It makes them an ideal solution for many applications. Using Bluetooth low-energy devices in industrial applications is also a great way to improve efficiency by reducing labor costs and boosting productivity.

These uses of BLE technology are expanding rapidly, and the possibilities are endless. However, whether BLE technology can replace existing wireless networks is still unclear.

Benefits of BLE

These uses of BLE technology are expanding rapidly, and the possibilities are endless. Here are some of the benefits and advantages of using BLE:
  • BLE uses much less energy than classic Bluetooth and thus is more appropriate for intermittent data transfers and devices with a lower power requirement.
  • BLE is great for proximity marketing applications to encourage customers to visit a store. By providing personalized information, these devices can convert customers into buyers. Additionally, they can send special offer advertisements based on the consumer's behavior in a particular store. It is a great way to improve customer service and increase sales.
  • Another benefit of BLE is the limited range. Unlike Wi-Fi, BLE devices can only be paired a short distance away. It limits the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks, which require the hacker to get close to the device to obtain information.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy is also a crucial technology in the Internet of Things (IoT). The technology helps IoT devices to be smaller and last longer and has many applications in the home, automotive, and office. The technology behind intelligent wearables, tags, and other devices use Bluetooth Low Energy.
  • Bluetooth low-energy devices can provide real-time positioning and location intelligence to help businesses better use their inventory.
  • BLE is also compatible with beacons, which allow for location-based notifications.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy devices can work for many years on a single battery.
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Intelligent Sensing Systems

iNetra by Prescient Technologies

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