Half-Billion Dollar Market at Risk Due to Delays in Bluetooth Low Energy Standard Adoption

Oyster Bay, New York - 23 Mar 2011

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has the potential to power a range of new applications collecting and sharing personal fitness and health management data, but delays in product deliveries to markets over the past 12 months have some application developers looking to rival technologies and protocols.

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The Bluetooth SIG did not formally adopt the Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0 which encompasses Bluetooth Low Energy technology until July 2010 – more than six months later than many in the industry had expected.

“With the huge potential of the Bluetooth Low Energy technology, the wait for adoption by the Bluetooth SIG has put a brake on many wireless health and sports devices’ market launches,” says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI research. “Where it hasn’t halted product development it has fostered adoption of rival traditional Bluetooth and proprietary offerings in the market. In addition, application developers have looked to build offerings around smartphone handsets’ current sensor and data collection capabilities.”

However, ABI Research believes that Bluetooth Low Energy remains of key importance to the proliferation and adoption of wearable wireless-enabled sports and health sensors.

“By 2016, Bluetooth Low Energy connected healthcare and fitness devices will reach 467 million annual device shipments,” notes practice director Sam Lucero. “But in the meantime, a host of rival protocols from 802.15.4-based offerings to low-power Wi-Fi to proprietary wireless protocols continue to push into healthcare and fitness applications and stake their claim to the emerging market.”

With initial production samples of single mode Bluetooth Low Energy ICs suitable for use in devices already shipped, the first commercial devices will start reaching the market within the next 12 months. Alongside these, the addition of Bluetooth 4.0 ICs in handsets will provide the driving force behind the appeal for Bluetooth Low Energy adoption.

ABI Research’s “Wireless Healthcare and Fitness Market Data provides forecast data for a number of significant types of wireless equipment in a healthcare environment including Wi-Fi access points and Wi-Fi RTLS appliances. It  includes examination of remote patient monitoring, telehealth and telepresence, and contains data about "body area networks."

This product is included in the firm’s  Wireless Healthcare Research Service, which also includes Research Reports, a home security Survey, ABI Insights, and analyst inquiry support.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 30+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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