Bluetooth 4.2 targets Internet of Things with better privacy, IPv6

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) just upped the ante in the "improved-version-of-an-old-technology" department for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Bluetooth SIG this week officially adopted Bluetooth 4.2, an updated specification designed to connect more devices and things to the Internet. In 4.2, Bluetooth Smart is up to 2.5 times faster, "with a huge packet capacity increase," nearly 10 times more than previous versions, according to the SIG, which says Bluetooth Smart is the ideal wireless technology for the IoT.

"Bluetooth 4.2 is all about continuing to make Bluetooth Smart the best solution to connect all the technology in your life--from personal sensors to your connected home," said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, in a press release. "In addition to the improvements to the specification itself, a new profile known as IPSP enables IPv6 for Bluetooth, opening entirely new doors for device connectivity. Bluetooth Smart is the only technology that can scale with the market, provide developers the flexibility to innovate, and be the foundation for the IoT."

Bluetooth 4.2 introduces privacy settings that lower power consumption and builds upon the security features of the Bluetooth specification, according to the SIG. New privacy features are designed to make it difficult for eavesdroppers to track a device through its Bluetooth connection without permission. When shopping in a retail store with beacons, a consumer won't be tracked unless he or she has enabled permission for the beacon to engage with the device.

The Bluetooth SIG says the core specification 4.2 makes the IoT better with multiple ways to connect to the Internet. Low-power IP connectivity provides the latest version of IPv6/6LoWPAN for Bluetooth Smart devices. Bluetooth Smart technology gateways provide Internet connectivity with the Bluetooth Smart Generic Attribute Profiles (GATT) architecture.

The team that worked on Bluetooth 4.2 consists of 22 people from 12 member companies worldwide that developed, tested and retested the specification. Companies represented include Anritsu, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Broadcom, CSR, Intel, Qualcomm Atheros, Samsung and others.

Bluetooth SIG, which was founded in 1998, isn't the only diehard technology group that's turning something that's been around a long time into a newer, improved version of itself to target the IoT. Last month, the ZigBee Alliance, which announced the first ZigBee standard in 2004, said it is unifying its wireless standards into a single, more cohesive standard named ZigBee 3.0 for the IoT. Demonstrations are planned for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

For more:
- see the press release
- see this PhoneScoop article
- see this Ars Technica story
- see this Techworld article
- see this Gigaom article

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