Bluetooth Adds Direction Finding Feature for Location Services

March 12, 2019 Rich Nass

Recently, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced a direction-finding feature that can significantly enhance the performance of Bluetooth-based location services products. The feature lets devices determine the direction of a Bluetooth signal, thereby enabling the development of Bluetooth proximity solutions that can understand device direction. Hence, positioning systems can achieve location accuracy down to a matter of centimeters.

Bluetooth location services solutions generally fall into two categories, proximity solutions and positioning systems. Today, proximity solutions use Bluetooth to understand when two devices are near each other, and approximately how far apart. By including the direction-finding feature, Bluetooth proximity solutions can add a device-direction capability. Positioning systems use Bluetooth to determine the physical location of devices and include real-time locating systems (RTLS).

The direction finding feature is included in version 5.1 of the Bluetooth Core Specification, which is now available to developers. In addition, Launch Studio, the Bluetooth SIG tool used to qualify new Bluetooth products, has been updated to support this feature.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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