(Phys.org) —The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the regulatory body responsible for the standard, announced on Wednesday its release of an updated version of the specification, Bluetooth 4.1. This is the first new update to the standard in nearly four years. Bluetooth has become a familiar and fundamental word in the vocabulary of device interconnectedness and "Internet of Things," as the technology standard that enables information exchange between wireless devices. Announced by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, Bluetooth 4.1 brings improvements, enablements, and developer support benefits. Also on Wednesday, Suke Jawanda, Bluetooth SIG chief marketing officer , blogged "Improving Usability extends the brand promise to consumers with an 'it just works' experience. This spec is engineered with several new features to make it work seamlessly with popular cell technologies like LTE, maintain connections with less frequent manual reconnection, and deliver a more efficient data exchange."
For device users, Bluetooth 4.1 will show improvements in the form of easier connections. Devices can reconnect automatically when in proximity of one another. The user leaves the room and come back to find the two devices that were recently used reconnected without any intervention.
Device users can also expect improved data transfer. Data-gathering sensors in devices while on a bike ride, run, or swim, will transfer that data more efficiently when the consumer returns home.
For developers, Bluetooth 4.1 will support Bluetooth Smart products and solutions with "dual-mode topology" and "link-layer topology" software features. What that means is that application developers as well as product developers can think about creating products that take on multiple roles. With 4.1, one can think about behavior as a Bluetooth Smart peripheral and also as a Bluetooth Smart hub. A smart watch can behave as a data-gathering information from a heart rate monitor, but at the same time behave as a peripheral to a smartphone, showing notifications from the phone. According to SIG, "As the Bluetooth Smart ecosystem grows, the Bluetooth SIG expects more solutions to play both a hub and peripheral role. Bluetooth 4.1 delivers this type of flexibility to Bluetooth Smart devices and application developers."
The group regards the new update as "an important evolutionary update to the wireless standard." The last update in 2010 was instead considered as a revolutionary update in the introduction of Bluetooth Smart (Low Energy) technology. "Bluetooth Smart technology put us on a rocket ship of growth, with Bluetooth annual product shipment projections skyrocketing to more than 4.5 billion in the next five years," said Jawanda.
To be sure, the standard for wireless interconnections has become a major presence in devices and services used every day. The Bluetooth SIG, a trade association, now counts over 20,000 member companies and oversees the development of Bluetooth specifications, and promotion and protection of the Bluetooth brand.
Explore further: Bluetooth 3.0 Launches April 21