Does My Invention Need Bluetooth?
For a consumer electronics design company such as MAKO Design, IoT is a hot topic in the consumer electronics industry. IoT has taken the modern age by storm with wireless interconnectivity between your smartphone, wearable watch and home electronics. But how does the small icon in the corner of your screen work? More importantly, does your consumer electronics invention need Bluetooth in order to be successful in the market?
What is Bluetooth?
In short, Bluetooth compatible devices have a tiny computer chip with a Bluetooth radio (transmitter and receiver). Short-range communication occurs between devices on a piconet network. Using radio waves, a network is established and one device becomes the master while the other(s) as the slave. Bluetooth devices automatically detect and connect to one another with a maximum of 8 connecting together at once. If two devices want to talk, they pick a random channel. If that channel is already taken, the devices will randomly switch to another in a process known as spread-spectrum frequency hopping. Pairs of devices are constantly shifting frequency to minimize the risks of interference from other electrical appliances and to improve security.
How does Bluetooth play out in IoT?
Because of its ubiquitous smartphone integration, Bluetooth has become an almost essential wireless connectivity option for consumer electronics, smart homes and monitoring devices. Piconets are now able to join together to form a larger network known as a scatternet. Bluetooth devices with point-to-multipoint capability can engage in scatternet communication and several piconets can now be connected to each other through one scatternet. Additionally, a single Bluetooth device may participate as a slave in several piconets, but can only be a master in one piconet.
Bluetooth-enabled adapters can now control the power supply of non-network enabled home consumer electronics (coffee maker, lamp, etc.). These appliances interact with a user’s smartphone and with each other through a hybrid mesh network that transforms multiple Bluetooth point-to-point connections into a scatternet. One device in each Bluetooth hub also
participates as a slave in another piconet, thus enabling messages to be relayed between each hub and its devices. Using scatternets, the Internet of Things is able to come to life.
So, does my consumer electronics invention need Bluetooth?
MAKO Design offers full in-house electrical design expertise in developing PCB chips for Bluetooth connectivity between devices. However, the cost of electrical design for wireless connectivity at any consumer electronics design firm can range from anywhere between one thousand to one hundred thousand dollars. If your consumer electronics invention needs wireless compatibility with other devices, Bluetooth should be explored. If not, then having Bluetooth isn’t necessary for your consumer electronic product’s market success.
Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.
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