I was lucky to be able to attend the Bluetooth SIG Europe event in Amsterdam this week (16/17th September 2014) and it was a pleasure to learn about all the interesting applications that Bluetooth is currently being used for and what is on the horizon.
Day 1 kicked off with a keynote from Mark Powell, Exec Director of the SIG and his presentation highlighted just how ubiquitous Bluetooth is today. Two interesting facts were that >70% of all wireless connectivity related projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo used Bluetooth and that Bluetooth Audio has grown 451% from 2010 to 2013. Pretty staggering really.
There were many presentations that demonstrated Bluetooth use, too many to include in this blog (a full list is here) but we’ll look at some of those that were most interesting to SensiAn Research.
Simon Drabble from Adidas discussed the Adidas miCoach Elite Training System (ETS) and described the way in which many leading football (soccer) teams, including national teams, are using miCoach to improve and track performance of their players. He also discussed consumer applications for this technology and how Adidas are using Bluetooth Smart as part of a range of wireless technologies.
There was an interesting panel session examining the explosion in beacons (a market that SensiAn Research is tracking). Panellists were from two Beacon users (Autograph and LocalSocial) and from two IC vendors (Dialog Semiconductor and Nordic Semiconductor). Some key takeaways were that Beacons are being used in retail today but have a myriad of uses. Beacons can be standalone devices (such as those from Estimote or Kontact.io) but pretty much any Bluetooth Smart device could become a beacon. Today the market is focused on stationary beacons but beacons could move – for example having a beacon in a car could be used to advertise the presence of a vehicle and improve road safety. Sean from LocalSocial coined an interesting phrase “Becosystem” which relates to the ecosystem built around beacon technology.
Dr Kate Stone, Founder of Novalia Ltd talked about her companies various projects using printing techniques to produce smart paper for posters and other interesting printed devices. These combine conventional printing, capacitive touch and Bluetooth for audio streaming and connection to a smartphone. A novel use of Bluetooth to improve existing things.
Day 2 was unfortunately short lived as I needed to catch a flight, but I was invited to join a panel on “The Connected Fitness and Wearables Market” which was timely having recently published a study on the market, see here). I was joined by John Leonard (Nordic Semiconductor), Ernest Chiang (PAFERS Tech) and Pierre Mace (Babolat). The panel discussed innovation in sports and fitness, what would be the next wearable markets to take off, wearable devices use in IoT and interaction with beacons and also the impact of recent devices introductions from Apple, Motorola, Samsung and others on the wearable device market.
Before dashing for the airport I was lucky to catch Radek Tadajewski’s presentation on his company oort’s view of the future connected home. The most interesting thing in my mind about this solution is the hub device that oort has introduced which is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart enabled and could be a key bridging device as a Bluetooth-enabled headless gateway in the home.