Bluetooth Mesh: The Next Standard In Home Automation?

Alex Flitton
Jan 15, 2019 8:05:00 AM

What Is Bluetooth?

In 1998, Bluetooth SIG, Inc. introduced a new short-range, wireless technology that allows devices like mobile phones, computers, and other communicate and share information with each other at high speed. It revolutionized the way we share files, listen to music, and even drive our cars. Because of its influence in modern day technology, it has become a standard in nearly every electronic device that needs to communicate or share information with others within a short distance.

Where Did The Name Come From?

The term Bluetooth actually comes from a famous Viking name King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson. He made world history for being an effective communicator, and in particular, he helped unite Denmark and Norway which were historically contentious with each other. One of the most important functions that Bluetooth technology plays is standardizing the short-range radio technology between devices to promote interoperability and ultimately, communication between different types of devices. The name turned out to become a worldwide term, becoming synonymous with a significant portion of the world’s communication technologies.

How Does A Mesh Network Function?

Bluetooth technology is already ubiquitous in our daily lives. From cell phones to light bulbs, smart hubs and even thermostats, each one currently leverages some form of the technology. The problem, though, is delivering an energy-efficient method to make each of these devices capable of communicating with each other, creating a many-to-many topology (mesh).

mesh-network-info-graphic

The Benefits of A Bluetooth Mesh Network

When it comes to applying the technology to home automation, there are two main benefits of using a mesh network:

1. Extended range: Since nodes can relay messages to far away nodes via the nodes in between them, this allows a network to extend its range and expand the reach of devices.

2. Self-healing capabilities: Self-healing refers to the fact that there is no single point of failure. If a node drops from the mesh network, the other nodes can still participate and send messages to one another. However, this is only partially true for Bluetooth mesh since it has different types of nodes within the network, some of which other nodes may depend on.

What Bluetooth Mesh Means For Home Automation

In a nutshell, a mesh network would give consumers the greatest level of freedom possible, allowing them to pair products from different brands based on personal budget and brand preference. So, if someone wanted a Nest thermostat and a Philips Hue light to be paired with any number of other devices that share the mesh network capabilities. In an interview with Security Sales & Integration, Dian Fan, General Manager of Xiaomi IoT Platform, said, “For the smart home market to grow, it needs true global wireless mesh networking standards that can meet the reliability, security, and performance needs of the market.” That means promoting greater cooperation between companies and giving customers independent solutions that customers are excited about.

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