Location services accuracy increased using Bluetooth 5.1

30th January 2019
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Location services accuracy increased using Bluetooth 5.1

New Bluetooth software for the Wireless Gecko portfolio, and a comprehensive connectivity solution for the Internet of Things (IoT), have been released by Silicon Labs. Silicon Labs’ commercial, industrial and retail customers can enhance their location-based services, using the direction finding feature added to Bluetooth in version 5.1 of the Bluetooth Core Specification.

To help meet the growing demands of the location services market, Bluetooth has added a new direction finding feature, allowing devices to determine the direction of a Bluetooth signal. The new feature supports multiple methods for determining signal direction including angle-of-arrival (AoA) and angle-of-departure (AoD), and Silicon Labs’ implementation of the new Bluetooth feature enables detection of signal direction within five degrees. 

To date, Bluetooth asset tracking and indoor positioning solutions have typically provided location accuracy within a range of three to four meters. With the Silicon Labs Bluetooth 5.1 solution, developers can create products that improve location accuracy down to the sub-1-meter level, opening the door to applications previously not possible.

“The Silicon Labs Bluetooth direction finding solution provides a huge leap in location services accuracy for the industry,” said Matt Johnson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. “The combination of the Silicon Labs wireless solution and the new features added in Bluetooth 5.1 will help developers transform industries and improve people’s lives.”

In addition to improved location services, Bluetooth 5.1 also helps developers:

  • Reduce power consumption with sleep clock accuracy updates.
  • Improve smart home connection performance using GATT caching functionality.
  • Optimise beaconing for Bluetooth mesh in crowded RF environments with the advertisement channel index feature.

Mark Powell, Bluetooth SIG Executive Director, added: “The Bluetooth community continues to find ways to meet evolving market needs and open new opportunities. The addition of Bluetooth direction finding demonstrates this commitment to drive innovation and support the incredible growth opportunity within the location services market.”

Silicon Labs’ direction finding software, including support for the AoA method, is available today to selected customers through the Silicon Labs Simplicity development kit.

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