A recurring theme at CES 2016 was the presence of Bluetooth Low Energy (or Bluetooth Smart) in devices ranging from health and fitness wearables to smart lightbulbs and door locks. Adopted by the Bluetooth SIG in 2010, BLE adoption has grown rapidly as IoT devices look to come online using low-power wireless technology, positioning BLE squarely against other energy-efficient wireless protocols in the battle for the smart home and other applications. Now, the Bluetooth SIG is looking to add mesh networking capabilities to the Bluetooth 4.2 specification, making the pervasive short-range connectivity technology more competitive with standards like ZigBee and Z-Wave and enabling it to expand beyond personal-area networks (PANs) that make up the “Internet of My Things.”
At the show I had a chance to speak with Sven-Egil Nielsen, CTO of fabless Bluetooth SoC vendor Nordic Semiconductor and former Chairman of the Bluetooth SIG. During our discussion, he commented on the growth of BLE, the status of the mesh networking spec, and his company’s aspirations to drive Bluetooth adoption beyond the consumer IoT. Listen to the interview below.