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467M health devices to run on Bluetooth by 2016

Posted: 28 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Bluetooth Low Energy? Bluetooth 4.0 spec? rival traditional Bluetooth offerings?

A new report by ABI Research forecasts that up to 467 million health care and personal fitness devices powered by Bluetooth Low Energy will ship in 2016. It, however, said that delayed issuance of the spec has allowed rival technologies to make inroads in these new markets.

The Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0 was released in July 2010, more than six months later than anticipated, said Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research and author of the report.

"The wait for adoption by the Bluetooth SIG has put a brake on many wireless health and sports devices' market launches," said Collins in a press release. "Where [the delay] hasn't halted product development, it has fostered adoption of rival traditional Bluetooth and proprietary offerings in the market," he said.

The alternative approaches include "a host of rival protocols from 802.15.4-based offerings to low-power Wi-Fi to proprietary wireless protocols," said Sam Lucero, another ABI analyst.

Chips supporting the Bluetooth 4.0 spec are now sampling and systems using them should be available in 12 months, the report said. The chips will also be used in some smartphones, it said.

About half of the wireless health and fitness systems sales by 2016 will be for medical systems in hospitals and clinics, ABI estimates. Another third will be for fitness devices. The smallest percentage will go to home-based health care devices, ABI said.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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