The Bluetooth Advantage in the IoT Market

The Bluetooth Advantage in the IoT Market

By Tom Carpenter On 06/22/2020

Bluetooth is positioned to make inroads into the general IoT market. With Bluetooth mesh and continued support for classic Bluetooth and BLE, the protocols are there to allow for many IoT use cases. In this brief post, I'll discuss the 2020 Market Update from the Bluetooth SIG and its implications for the future of IoT.

The first thing that stands out when reading the Bluetooth SIG's 2020 Market Update, is the sheer number of Bluetooth devices shipped. From 3 billion in 2015 to 4.2 billion in 2019 and an expected 6.2 billlion in 2024. With a market size that large, the simple awareness of the protocol lends significant weight to the likelihood of growth in IoT use. Of course, it is already being used as a first link solution in many Body Area Network (BAN) implementations, but the mesh functionality and longer ranges achieved in modern devices opens up more opportunity.

On the development side, due to the massive number of devices on the market, familiarity may be more common among developers as they seek out a protocol for their IoT solutions. This familiarity can result in increased adoption rates of Bluetooth for many projects.

As to Bluetooth LE (BLE), about 7.5 billion more devices are expected to ship between 2020 and 2024. It is expected that 100% of platform devices (phones, tablets, and laptops) will support dual-mode (Bluetooth Classic and BLE) by 2024, which will open up significant development advantages derived from the stack, such as the ability to perform standard data transfers, achieve greater range, and implement mesh solutions. Today, already, most new devices are dual-mode capable and the number of "Classic-only" devices is quickly dwindling among new shipments.

The two major markets for mesh, promoted by the Bluetooth SIG, are home automation and commercial lighting. At this point, the number of Bluetooth mesh qualified products is doubling every six months. The result is that hundreds of solutions will be on the market in the next few years.

For a long time now, most have thought of Bluetooth as "a way to connect my speakers and headphones." Interestingly, in 2019 1.1 billion audio streaming devices shipped; however, in the same year 800 million data transfer devices shipped. Of greater interest is the prediction of 1.54 billlion audio devices in 2024 compared to 1.5 billion data transfer devices. The trend seen by the SIG is a significantly greater increase in use of Bluetooth for data transfer than for audio streaming. Location services are on a significant upward trend as well with a 32% CAGR rate resulting in an expected 538 million devices shipping in 2024 alone. Finally, automation systems, control systems, and monitoring systems are expected to reach 892 million shipments by 2024; however, keep in mind that 169 million shipped in 2018 and 280 million shipped in 2019, indicating that the market is already strong and it is expected to grow at 26% CAGR in the coming years.

It is very interesting to note that 90% of Bluetooth mesh networking devices are lighting focused. Clearly, this will be a large part of the market in the next few years.

You can read the full report here: https://www.bluetooth.com/bluetooth-resources/2020-bmu/

Clearly, Bluetooth is poised with an advantage as it continues to enter into and grow in the IoT market. Expect to see much more from Bluetooth in the coming years.

Tagged with: bluetooth, ble, mesh, IoT, bluetooth classic, bluetooth le, bluetooth mesh
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