BLE - Bluetooth Low Energy
Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard used in telecommunications for the user-friendly creation of personal wireless networks. Devices with this technology – including smartphones, tablets, notebooks, wearables and peripherals – can connect to and dialogue with each other when tens of metres apart.
Bluetooth’s added value comes from its status as a standard, which permits its use for open, interoperable solutions with low energy consumption and production costs and an operating range from 1 to 100 metres (and above).
BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is the version of this standard developed in release 4.0 and higher. Its chief plus factors are wireless communication up to a range of 100 metres and the very low energy use of the connected devices, thanks to the small quantities of data exchanged and the short transmission times.
Users no longer have to shut down their smartphone’s Bluetooth connection once data have been exchanged; in fact, it is better to leave it on all the time to benefit from the information services offered, such as, in retailing, Tag Beacon BLE (iBeacon in Apple language). Or, for example, during the COVID19 emergency, in Italy the Immuni system, based on Bluetooth LE technology, alerted users to a potential risk of infection if they had come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
In fact, BLE’s strong point is that enables the user’s smartphone or tablet (Apple, Android or Windows) to connect to the other Bluetooth Low Energy devices in the surrounding environment and automatically, without any action on the part of the user themselves, receive informative messages or data from the sensors (Wireless Sensor Network).
The BLE technology is activated using Beacons, which are active (i.e. battery-powered) sensors with an electronic circuit and an antenna. BLE beacons (classified as indoor location solutions) allow the transfer of data (messages) with smartphones, tablets and all mobile devices in general. However, these devices must carry an app which allows them to read the communication received from the BLE beacons.
BLE beacons are relatively small. The size of the battery can be varied depending on the autonomy required for the device, and the size of the case will vary accordingly.
The BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacon system is a very effective technology for geolocation and within the field of Real Time Location Systems in general, as it is much cheaper than other systems and uses very little energy.