The industry organization that develops Bluetooth standards introduced a new energy-efficient specification for Internet of Things (IoT) devices last week, with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) unveiling a new specification for devices that contain Bluetooth and other radios at the Bluetooth World conference.

According to IOT Journal, the new specification – dubbed Transport Discovery Service (TDS) – will allow more energy-efficient communication between IoT devices. The new specification is applicable to Bluetooth devices with Bluetooth Core Specification version 4.0 or later.

The stakes are high to improve energy efficiency as IoT technology rapidly continues its expansion and integration with Bluetooth. By 2020, a third of all IoT devices are expected to include a Bluetooth radio, according to ABI research.

“The idea here is to make it easy for any wireless technology to be relevant” in relation to IoT technology, said Bluetooth SIG’s VP of marketing Errett Kroeter.

Kroeter says the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) specification for connecting devices to the Internet is sparking increasing interest among connected device makers. He said the TDS offers the added benefit of conserve increased amounts of battery life of wireless devices.


Bluetooth IoT energy-savings efforts have competition

However, for the TDS to become widely used, organizations like the ZigBee Alliance and the Wi-Fi Alliance must integrate TDS into their own protocols. Kroeter says that if there is collaboration with the Bluetooth SIG to develop and commercialize communications standards that make TDS functional, by early next year TDS could start appearing on the market.

Competing communications technologies are also working on the energy efficiency issue. The Wi-Fi Alliance announced a new type of Wi-Fi at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that’s meant to work on low-power devices, called Wi-Fi HaLow.

They intend to begin certifying HaLow products sometime in 2018, but may begin shipping shortly before then.

Besides the TDS specification, the Bluetooth SIG is developing a major update to the BLE Core Specification that will standardize the mesh networking protocol, double the data speed supported by BLE radios and quadruple radio range. The update, which won’t increase BLE devices’ power usage, is expected in the second half of 2016.