Many competitive technologies are emerging for narrow-band, low-energy IoT and IIoT networks. At Anuraco we focus on utilizing the power of Bluetooth’s hybrid, low-energy technology. Here’s why:
1. Large native ecosystem
Bluetooth technology was invented around the rise of the internet (ca. 1994), and has become a trusted, integral part of our technology landscape. BLE Smart tech is enabled in billions of smartphones, computers, tablets and devices. It’s an enormous network of devices capable of communicating to each other. With an intelligent mobile phone app and a small BLE-COM module or Bluetooth tag, BLE technology can be rapidly adopted for industrial and environmental monitoring systems.
2. Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) = more data, less energy consumption
Bluetooth Low-Energy (v4.x) excels in situations where sensors and devices need long-term deployment with extended battery power. BLE tech works on advertising and “wake up and send” technology. The big advantage to BLE 4.0 is vastly improved power consumption and reduced communication requirements done by simplifying the protocol and allowing the devices to skip connection intervals to conserve battery when not needed. Learn more about power supply issues in our previous article.
3. Communicates without wires or Wifi, with low-energy
BLE allows sensors to communicate data without wires, USB converters, Wifi, cellular or any other connection. Creating local communication networks allows for site-specific data transmission. Of course, the cool thing is that Bluetooth smart can integrate via cellular, Wifi and LTE Cat-M1 gateways, creating large networks of bi-directional communication.
Little known fact: Bluetooth was originally conceived to replace cables for RS-232 technology! Many people do not realize when Bluetooth technology was first hitting the market, it was created to replace cables for RS-232 connections (source: Bluetooth SIG). On the other hand, BLE (Bluetooth 4.x) was originally designed as a key/value data transfer, mostly focused around periodic reporting of sensor data (ex, thermometer or humidity, where you only sample every few minutes and don’t need to transfer lots of data, but want to do it quickly to save battery).
4. Locking and Security
BLE has a wide range of security features you can implement. For example, at Anuraco we implemented a locking feature. A user of our BLE adaptor has to enter a password to access their BLE-device, and protect downstream device data from open access.
5. Streamlines device metering and diagnostics
Installing a BLE adaptor with multiple sensors attached, allows a technician to meter multiple devices at once without needing a meter interface for each one. As well, a technician who has to monitor multiple devices across a site, can use the same smartphone app to interact with every device. Keeps the redundant site costs down and allows any technician to download, upgrade and interact with the devices on site from a iOS or Android phone or tablet.
6. Low cost
Due to its standardization and long-term use globally, Bluetooth is one of the least expensive, ubiquitous technologies of all the IoT options.
7. Connects RS-485, RS-232, SDI-12 devices using several industrial serial protocols
Bluetooth works with standard industrial protocols (Modbus RTU, Modbus ASCII, etc.), making it an ideal IoT transition tool.
8. Reliable data broadcasts
One of the highlights of Bluetooth technology is its adaptive frequency hopping method of broadcasting. What does this mean for a user? Basically it means Bluetooth signals adapts to the surrounding environment, and this reduces interference, compared to other technologies. The big thing about frequency hopping is that it allows the devices to operate in noisy environments well and avoid channels that are being used by WiFi or other bluetooth or 2.4GHz devices. To learn more about frequency hopping check out this article on the subject.
9. Future-ready with mesh, gateways and WLAN integrations
One of Bluetooth’s downsides (compared to WiFi, LoRa, etc.) is the limited short-haul range. It’s upside is a powerful, complementary technology working on the unrestricted 2.4GHz frequency range. System-wide integration using Bluetooth has become much easier in the past few years with the addition of IP/IoT internet gateway systems. We can use gateways to deliver device info via Bluetooth to data analytics, visualization and control systems. Using API services you can also do multi-platform development, allowing data to be accessed how and where you need. See Bluetooth SIG’s White Paper on Internet Gateways for a review of technical implementation.
10. Bluetooth works in rugged, harsh environments
We are particularly interested in Bluetooth because of the ability to deploy sensors equipped with BLE beacons in harsh or difficult to access environments. Anuraco’s BLE-485 adaptor is built with a rugged industrial housing, installed at monitoring wells at Superfund sites or flooded areas, data can be accessed without direct contact at the site.
To learn more about engineering and integrating Bluetooth technology, Get in touch with us to chat or ask questions.