“As the preferred technology in the field of Internet of Things, Bluetooth has nurtured many innovative application scenarios such as smart homes, smart lighting, and smart cities. According to the “2021 Bluetooth Market Update”, the shipment of Bluetooth smart home automation equipment will reach 222 million in 2021, and the annual shipment of Bluetooth residential smart lighting will reach 39 million. Moreover, it is estimated that by 2025, the annual shipments of Bluetooth smart home automation equipment will increase three times, and it will increase to 670 million in just five years. The main devices driving this growth include smart home automation controllers, smart lighting, and smart home appliances.
As the preferred technology in the field of Internet of Things, Bluetooth has nurtured many innovative application scenarios such as smart homes, smart lighting, and smart cities. According to the “2021 Bluetooth Market Update”, the shipment of Bluetooth smart home automation equipment will reach 222 million in 2021, and the annual shipment of Bluetooth residential smart lighting will reach 39 million. Moreover, it is estimated that by 2025, the annual shipments of Bluetooth smart home automation equipment will increase three times, and it will increase to 670 million in just five years. The main devices driving this growth include smart home automation controllers, smart lighting, and smart home appliances.
Li Jiarong, Asia Pacific and China Marketing Director of Bluetooth Technology Alliance, said: “As the only wireless standard that can provide a fully decentralized architecture without a single point of failure, the Bluetooth mesh network is very suitable for creating control, monitoring and automation systems, enabling hundreds of The device can communicate reliably and securely.”
Bluetooth mesh network, the wireless technology of choice for AIoT leaders
Today, smart home and lighting control systems based on Bluetooth mesh technology have received strong support from many leading companies. Espressif has been deeply involved in the R&D and design of software and hardware products in the AIoT field for many years. The Bluetooth mesh protocol stack ESP-BLE-MESH developed by Espressif is mainly used in smart home, smart lighting, and smart industrial market segments.
Espressif has developed an open source Bluetooth mesh protocol stack ESP-BLE-MESH based on Zephyr Bluetooth® mesh, which fully supports almost all core features, client models and server models specified by the Bluetooth SIG Bluetooth mesh protocol. It is the current open source protocol One of the most complete Bluetooth mesh protocol stacks in the stack. Through this protocol stack, users can communicate and work together with standard Bluetooth mesh devices of different manufacturers and types around the world. Espressif engineers have made many technological innovations on Bluetooth mesh based on the actual use scenarios of users. For example, in 2019, Espressif introduced the Bluetooth mesh fast provisioning model technology (Fast Provisioning Model), which can support 100 nodes to complete all provisioning work within 50s.
Espressif’s Bluetooth mesh protocol stack is mainly used in market segments such as smart home, smart lighting, and smart industry. Users can build a safe and stable communication network based on it, and realize functions such as equipment networking, automatic control, and remote monitoring. In addition, Espressif Systems also provides SoCs that integrate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi or IEEE 802.15.4 (such as ESP32 series, ESP32-S series, ESP32-C series and ESP32-H series), so users can also be based on the Espressif Bluetooth mesh protocol The stack implements a gateway that converts between Bluetooth mesh and Wi-Fi or IEEE 802.15.4.
Ruian Zhang, the founding CEO of Espressif Technology, said that Espressif’s choice of Bluetooth mesh network mainly focused on the following three advantages:
1) Bluetooth low energy is one of the mainstream wireless communication protocols in the current market, which is widely used in smart phones, gateways and terminal devices. It can work stably in the crowded 2.4 GHz frequency band through adaptive frequency hopping technology. Bluetooth low energy has the characteristics of high security and global standard Bluetooth device interconnection. If hardware resources permit, the existing low-power Bluetooth devices on the market can be upgraded to support the Bluetooth mesh protocol through OTA (Over-the-Air). This is the advantage of the development of Espressif’s Bluetooth mesh protocol stack and the promotion and popularization of Bluetooth mesh. key.
2) The Bluetooth Technology Alliance has formulated detailed protocol specifications, application models and test specifications for Bluetooth mesh, covering common application scenarios and device types. At the same time, the scalability of the protocol also ensures that Bluetooth mesh can meet more usage scenarios in the future.
3) In addition, since Bluetooth mesh is an upper-layer protocol defined based on Bluetooth low energy consumption, from the perspective of chip development, supporting Bluetooth mesh function does not require modification of the internal circuit design of the chip. The topology of the Bluetooth mesh protocol is relatively simple. The software implementation of the Bluetooth mesh does not need to occupy a large amount of device memory, which effectively reduces the cost required for customers to use the mesh network.
Bluetooth mesh solution, enabling diverse landing application scenarios
In the field of smart lighting, Espressif’s Bluetooth mesh protocol stack can be used to connect and control smart lights in the home, enterprise, industrial, and public facilities. Since lighting equipment is generally installed on the wall and powered by the wall wiring, the use of Espressif’s Bluetooth mesh protocol stack can reduce the difficulty of network deployment and management, and is an ideal solution for such scenarios. In addition, the Bluetooth mesh protocol self-organizing network, network self-healing, and fault-tolerant mechanism are also fully suitable for deploying smart devices in the home. For example, in blind areas of Wi-Fi networks, devices can be effectively connected through Bluetooth mesh.
In the process of deploying the Bluetooth mesh network, the gateway can be connected to the network to realize remote control of the device. Espressif SoC integrates Bluetooth (Classic Bluetooth + Bluetooth Low Energy) and Wi-Fi or IEEE 802.15.4, and supports the coexistence of multiple protocols. Customers can implement such gateway devices based on Espressif’s Bluetooth mesh protocol stack. For example, Espressif has helped customers integrate Espressif’s Bluetooth mesh protocol stack into smart speakers to act as a gateway. Based on the coexistence mechanism of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, customers can control other nearby Bluetooth mesh devices with only one highly integrated chip of Espressif. At the same time, the device can also use classic Bluetooth to play music and maintain a stable Wi-Fi connection.
The future “wireless” potential of Bluetooth mesh
Ruian Zhang, the founding CEO of Espressif Systems, believes that based on current market data, the application scenarios of Bluetooth mesh in the field of smart lighting will become more extensive in the future. For example, by combining Bluetooth 5.1’s AoA/AoD technology with Bluetooth mesh, indoor positioning can be realized through a lighting network. This also brings broader application ideas for consumers and enterprises, such as indoor positioning, asset tracking, and personalized application scenarios. Similarly, based on the device interconnection of Bluetooth mesh and the function of networking through gateways, more intelligent lighting applications will continue to emerge in the future.
In addition to indoor positioning, the application of Bluetooth mesh in the AIoT field will also increase. The combination of Bluetooth mesh, voice and image recognition, smart home sensors and machine learning will enable devices to learn and understand people’s living habits independently, bring people a more intelligent experience, and further improve the quality of life.
As more and more smart phones provide full support for Bluetooth mesh, future mobile phones and Bluetooth mesh will achieve more interaction. Espressif is also optimistic about the potential of Bluetooth mesh to support the IP protocol in the future. Based on its ability to connect to the IP protocol, users will not only be able to control Bluetooth mesh devices nearby through their mobile phones, but they will also be able to remotely control the devices without a gateway.
Combining the LE Audio of Bluetooth 5.2 with Bluetooth mesh can also realize many innovative applications, such as supporting voice and audio applications in the Bluetooth mesh network. To achieve these, Bluetooth mesh is required to further extend the protocol content, such as supporting LE Audio.
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