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Bluetooth 5 is out: Now will home IoT take off?

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Bluetooth is aiming straight for the internet of things as the fifth version of the wireless protocol arrives with twice as much speed for low-power applications.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which gains the most from the new Bluetooth 5specification, can now go as fast as 2Mbps (bits per second) and typically can cover a whole house or a floor of a building, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) said Wednesday. Those features could help to make it the go-to network for smart homes and some enterprise sites.

The home IoT field is pretty open right now because most people haven’t started buying things like connected thermostats and door locks, ABI Research analyst Avi Greengart said. Bluetooth starts out with an advantage over its competition because it’s built into most smartphones and tablets, he said. Alternatives like ZigBee and Z-Wave often aren’t.

“It’s easy to predict that within two to three years, pretty much every phone will have Bluetooth 5,” Greengart said. “Sometimes ubiquity is the most important part of a standard.”

As the new protocol rolls out to phones, users should be able to control Bluetooth 5-equipped devices without going through a hub.

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