Blackberry and Google recently announced that the wireless communication protocol, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), will be included in their latest releases in Blackberry 10 and Android platforms respectively.
The idea that BLE could become the dominant protocol for wireless communication particularly for establishing machine-to-machine applications within a home area network (HAN) environment, is extremely attractive to the technology’s patent owners. However, it also has interesting implications for the overall M2M market development.
First, it is the idea that the global pool of consumer smartphones could now become the addressable market on which M2M applications can be developed. This opens up the possibility of innovations in new M2M applications that have direct access to the end users; an eventual aim that every businesses aspire to achieve. Secondly, BLE might spark another round of interest around enabling sensor technologies that might go into the wellbeing vector of an M2M in Healthcare offering. This could be an important event that triggers a turning point for M2M in healthcare in Europe, where consumer wellbeing products become the main catalyst for M2M in healthcare revenues in the region. M2M telcos with a lead in healthcare or connected homes offering can extend their lead even more.
Finally, BLE’s emergence is a positive to the overall M2M market development because a “new” protocol adds to the competitive pressures that in turn lead to innovations. Granted, another protocol also adds complexity to the already heated discussion for which protocol to use particularly in HAN. The continuing debate on which protocol to enable is one of several reasons why we still haven’t seen significant scale in smart appliances in the home. However, competition breeds innovation and this is how we would see as sustainable M2M development.