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Monday, January 28, 2019

Bluetooth 5.1 chip update provides sub-1m positioning accuracy indoors

By Nick Flaherty

Silicon Labs has released a software software for its Wireless Gecko chips to add Bluetooth 5.1 positioning for the Internet of Things (IoT). 

The new feature supports multiple methods for determining signal direction including angle-of-arrival (AoA) and angle-of-departure (AoD), and Silicon Labs’ implementation of the new Bluetooth feature enables detection of signal direction within 5 degrees. To date, Bluetooth asset tracking and indoor positioning solutions have typically provided location accuracy within a range of 3-4 meters. With the Bluetooth 5.1 update developers can create products that improve location accuracy down to the sub-1-meter level, opening the door to applications previously not possible.

“The Silicon Labs Bluetooth direction finding solution provides a huge leap in location services accuracy for the industry,” said Matt Johnson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. “The combination of the Silicon Labs wireless solution and the new features added in Bluetooth 5.1 will help developers transform industries and improve people’s lives.”

In addition to improved location services, Bluetooth 5.1 also:
• Reduces power consumption with sleep clock accuracy updates
• Improves smart home connection performance using GATT caching functionality
• Optimises the use of beacons for Bluetooth mesh in crowded RF environments with the advertisement channel index feature

“The Bluetooth community continues to find ways to meet evolving market needs and open new opportunities,” said Mark Powell, Bluetooth SIG Executive Director. “The addition of Bluetooth direction finding demonstrates this commitment to drive innovation and support the incredible growth opportunity within the location services market.”

Silicon Labs’ direction finding software, including support for the AoA method, is available today to selected customers through the Silicon Labs Simplicity Studio.

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