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The Era of Smart Things—How BLE & Wearables Are Changing the Game

The Era of Smart Things—How BLE & Wearables Are Changing the Game

We live in an era of smart things. The advancements in Bluetooth technology enabled the rise of wearables. The potential is astronomical, while the consequences of its misuse can be harmful. For a long time now, Polidea’s engineers have been investing a considerable amount of time and effort in developing BLE and IoT expertise. To learn about Bluetooth’s predecessor and it’s evolution, we sat down with our Lead Project Manager and wearables enthusiast—Sławek.

When you first heard the word “Bluetooth,” what did you think about this up-and-coming tech?

It has been a while since I first heard about Bluetooth. Back then, data, like images, was sent from one mobile device to the other via the IrDA (Infrared Data Association). One day someone asked me “Hey, you need to turn on the Bluetooth, it will be faster!”. Unfortunately, my mobile device at the time had only IrDA support. As you can probably imagine sending files wirelessly to a desktop was time-consuming and not that convenient.

That was the beginning of Bluetooth, focused mostly on sending data. Then, the wearable technology evolved: intelligent watches, smart bands, heart trackers, and more. Now, it’s everywhere: in-car audio, smart fridges, coffee machines, and much more! Personally, I use Bluetooth mostly for listening to music while I travel in my car or walk from one room to the other at home with a Bluetooth speaker.

Sławomir

Lead Project Manager

The potential BLE connectivity issues might be challenging. If it’s only about not getting your weather-related notification, it’s not the end of the world. However, once the issue is related to the security/privacy matters, any data loss is not acceptable.

Why didn’t some technologies—like Google Glass—stand the test of time?

It’s usually about the concept. The idea itself was quite brilliant although the implementation would need another look. First of all, it was not affordable for an average person. The design was in fact unique, unfortunately, you couldn’t choose the shape nor the color of your brand-new Google Glass. Compared to regular glasses, they were a bit heavier. Also, they were actively listening to the outside noise (and voice) and capturing the output. Let’s think of privacy. Imagine what could happen with that kind of data being captured!

Was the introduction of BLE in 2011 the key to the popularization of smartwatches we use today?

Definitely. BLE greatly decreases battery consumption which is crucial here, especially considering current mobile devices’ screen sizes and their types (OLED, LCD). After spending long hours in front of your mobile device, the battery consumption settings will show you that a screen itself is one of the main battery drainers. And we have other features that drain the battery immediately. What would you think of a smartwatch that limits your experience with your phone to just a couple of hours?

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What’s your favorite wearable? Is there any tech yet to be invented that you’re waiting for?

I’m not sure whether this is my favorite wearable but it’s the one that I use the most. It’s a Garmin watch, a sports tracker. It’s a must-have when training. Whenever I am running, swimming or cycling, I can see the distance, pace, and other parameters.

Regarding the technology to be invented, I’m curious about how Google Glass would work with a different implementation. Maybe all of the information that Google Glass provides could be served as additional hardware to be placed on the top of your glasses. That might be useful depending on the available features and design.

What are the biggest challenges that the wearable and BLE sector will face in the upcoming years?

I had a pleasure to share some thoughts regarding this subject in the Polidea’s magazine, Polimag.

Depending on the BLE usage, the potential connectivity issues might be challenging. If it’s only about a smartwatch not sending you a weather-related notification, it might not be the end of the world. However, once the issue is related to crucial data or the security/privacy matters—any data loss will acceptable.

Bluetooth really evolved over the years. I’m curious what will happen next and if it will stand the test of time. For now, it’s the best solution we have when it comes to connectivity.

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Sławomir

Lead Project Manager

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If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Did you enjoy the read?

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!