Bluetooth SIG forms new Smart Home Subgroup

The new Smart Home Subgroup has been established to create additional Bluetooth mesh model specifications for smart home and related applications. (Pixabay)

LAS VEGAS—As companies convene here for CES 2019 to talk about the internet of things, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced the formation of a new Smart Home Subgroup, the aim of which is to create additional Bluetooth mesh model specifications for smart home and related applications.

The announcement comes after a decision from a number of companies to adopt Bluetooth mesh networking as a strategic communications protocol for smart home solutions, according to Bluetooth SIG.

More than 60 member companies are participating in the new Smart Home Subgroup, including Alibaba, GCT Semiconductor, Lierda, Midea Group IoT Company, MediaTek, Nordic Semiconductor, Novel Bits, S-Labs, Telink Semiconductor, Synopsys, UL Verification Services and Xiaomi.

Mesh models constitute the application layer of Bluetooth mesh networking and define the behavior of devices connected to a Bluetooth mesh network. Mesh models, for example, define how a Bluetooth mesh light is controlled by a Bluetooth mesh switch.

“In developing our IoT solutions for smart home, we need the reliable, high performing, and scalable connectivity that the Bluetooth mesh wireless standard supports,” said Miffy Chen, vice president of Alibaba Group and general manager of Tmall Genie, in a press release. “Those elements, combined with the existing trust and wide application of Bluetooth across the globe, has given it a unique advantage in support of our smart home strategy.”

Launched in 2017, Bluetooth mesh networking enables the creation of large-scale device networks for control, monitoring and automation systems where tens, hundreds or thousands of devices need to reliably and securely communicate with one another.

“For the smart home market to grow, it needs true global wireless mesh networking standards that can meet the reliability, security, and performance needs of the market,” said Dian Fan, general manager of Xiaomi IoT Platform, in a statement. “We’re confident that Bluetooth mesh is one of those standards and will enable tremendous growth and innovation in home automation for years to come.”

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Chuck Sabin, senior director of business strategy and planning at the Bluetooth SIG, told FierceWirelessTech last fall that the group wanted to move the discussion about Bluetooth away from the radio and turn it more into a discussion around what Bluetooth is actually doing to promote new markets and new market opportunities.

Like all Bluetooth technology specifications, the mesh models developed by this subgroup will be available to all member companies for use in conjunction with the Bluetooth mesh networking specifications, thereby enabling multivendor interoperability in the smart home.