2018 is continuing to be an important year for Bluetooth technology, and the most notable change is the increase in the number of users and use-cases. Businesses are learning to use beacons more systematically with clear ROI-focused business plans.
Membership at the Bluetooth SIG continues to experience strong growth with over 33,000 companies across the world. The Bluetooth device shipments have grown to 3.9 billion in 2018, and the number is expected to reach 5.2 billion by 2022.
Bluetooth devices are moving towards advanced use cases specifically in areas like asset tracking where expensive RFID solutions are used. Bluetooth allows for lower entry costs, making RTLS and location-based marketing a more viable business case.
Bluetooth technology highlights
As the Bluetooth market and its applications continue to grow, Bluetooth technology innovations progress rapidly too. In a recent report, Bluetooth SIG proclaimed that their working groups delivers one new specification or at least an update each month. Among all that has been brought the table, Bluetooth mesh and Bluetooth 5 are two highlights that we are going to be talking about in this blog post.
Bluetooth is continuously expanding the way in which things connect. With the point-to-point connection, Bluetooth pioneered the wireless audio market demonstrating the strength of one to one communication. With broadcast connections, Bluetooth paved the way for the Bluetooth beacon revolution demonstrating the power of one to many communication. Now with mesh, Bluetooth is unleashing the potential of many to many communication. It is now possible to connect thousands of devices to each other. This technology is a boon to cases like smart homes and asset tracking that involve multiple devices.
Bluetooth made its debut with a speed of 1Mbps and a limitation that did not allow the Bluetooth of one manufacturer to connect to other. This limitation was overcome by Bluetooth 2 which also provided an enhanced data rate (EDR) of 3Mbps. Bluetooth 3 enabled devices to use an alternate radio frequency (HS 802.11), and Bluetooth 4 made it possible for one device to connect to various devices at the same time. Now Bluetooth 5 features doubled speed, quadrupled transmission range and eight times more data transfer than its predecessors.
Though Bluetooth 5 was rolled out a year ago, its actual potential can be witnessed only in 2018. This is because the devices that came with Bluetooth4 inbuilt could not use the updated features of Bluetooth 5. But now, the new phones on the market can handle Bluetooth 5. HTC, Samsung, and Apple have already implemented Bluetooth 5 into their newest devices, and this adoption will continue to expand in 2018.
Bluetooth 5 comes with an improved range of features that would impact Bluetooth beacon technology. Here are a notorious few:
1. 2x speed
With Bluetooth 5, the data will now be traveling two times faster, thus reducing the communication time by half. This would reduce the dwell time that the devices need to receive beacon notifications and enable bluetooth beacons to reach out to devices fast.
2. 4x transmission range
The improved transmission range enables devices to be reached by beacons even if they are not very close to it. Also, this makes it possible for bluetooth beacons to replace the need for Wi-Fi to control smart home devices. This idea of replacement will have promising implementation because, in addition to reduced hardware costs (no access points or routers required), Bluetooth beacon reduces power consumption as well.
3. 8x data
Bluetooth 5 showcases an 800% increase in data broadcasting capacity. As a result, you can stuff beacon notifications with a lot more information. For example, you can push multiple payloads directly to the user instead of forcing them to visit a URL.
Bluetooth beacon market in 2018
According to Grand-view research, Bluetooth Beacon Market will be worth $58.7 Billion by 2025. Bluetooth beacons are estimated to have a large-scale adoption with a CAGR of 95.3% by 2025. In 2018 an increase is expected in the number of projects to embed Bluetooth beacons into packaging for high-value consumer goods. The retail industry is estimated to generate $968.9 million revenue in 2018 with continued investment in beacon-driven platforms.
The latest iOS update that doesn’t allow users to disconnect Bluetooth easily is promising more reach of beacon notification. In iOS 11, tapping the Bluetooth icon would disconnect it from the other Bluetooth devices it was connected to. But the radios inside would remain in “ON” state.
Updates like these and the improvised Bluetooth 5 are reinforcing the hope for the growth of Bluetooth proximity marketing in 2018.
How many users have their Bluetooth switched on?
With a lot of brands investing in location-based Bluetooth services, it is also important to understand what is the Bluetooth switch-on rate. In 2016, 45% of the mobile users had their Bluetooth switched on. The most current research in 2018 also suggests that 40 to 50 per cent of consumers leave Bluetooth turned on, making their devices easily receptive to beacon messages.
However, this number varies for businesses that communicate efficiently with customers about WHY switching on their Bluetooth while in the store is beneficial. Explaining the benefits well can also push the acceptance rate to as high as 80-90%!
If you are planning to try out beacons, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!