Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has added support for mesh networks, aimed at creating large-scale device networks for automation, sensor networks, and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

It is another update focused on making Bluetooth a more viable option for IoT and many-to-many device communications. Previous updates have included extended range, increased speed, and better power management.

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“By adding support for mesh networking, the member community is continuing a long history of focused innovation to help new, up-and-coming markets flourish,” said Bluetooth SIG executive director, Mark Powell.

“In the same way the connected device market experienced rapid growth after the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy, we believe mesh networking can play a vital role in helping early stage markets, such as building automation and wireless sensor networks, experience more rapid growth.”

The group is looking at factory automation as one of the key areas where mesh networking would be applicable. It cites the technology’s reliable, scalable, and secure features as inherently useful for large networks, which require “industrial-level” performance.

A new full stack approach

It also claims the group’s mesh networking provides a full stack approach for vendors, capable of running on every device from a low-level radio to a high-level application layer.

“Within the building automation market, there is a growing focus on connected lighting and the role it can play as a platform for providing automation services throughout a facility,” said Szymon Slupik, CTO of Silvair and chairman of the mesh working group within the Bluetooth SIG.

“A smart lighting platform built on top of Bluetooth mesh networking can also support asset tracking, point of interest, and way-finding services. These value-added capabilities are part of why we believe Bluetooth is an ideal technology for enabling a mesh network.”

Even though there are already a few wireless networks trying to set the standard for mesh networking and IoT, Bluetooth sees its decades of experience as an advantage in winning over the industrial market.

The mesh networking tools are available to developers from today.