The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) this week finalized standards for sports and fitness equipment using Bluetooth wireless technology sensors. The guidelines are for Bluetooth v4.0, which is a low energy technology. These guidelines are geared toward sensors using Bluetooth that measure spead and cadence for running and cycling activity. The new standard dictates specification for applications that can include running cadence, stride length, total distance or cycling speed, distance and pedal cadence.
Bluetooth in fitness equipment is expected to grow. ABI Research forecasts shipments of Bluetooth enabled sports and fitness devices to grow ten-fold between 2011 and 2016. A recent report forecasts 278 million units, which represents over 60 percent of the total available market.
“Historically, sports and fitness sensors capable of tracking speed and cadence relied on proprietary technology, limiting their reach and functionality. The Running S&C and Cycling S&C profiles unlock these sensors, allowing companies to build products that can connect with tens of millions of Bluetooth Smart Ready devices in the market, and hundreds of millions on the way in the coming quarters,” says Suke Jawanda, chief marketing officer of Bluetooth SIG.
In the future, wireless sensors will likely be compatible with devices, even those from other companies. It will also be possible to buy a sensor that works with an app on an Android, iOS or other smartphone.
“Bluetooth Smart is playing an important role in augmenting the value of smartphones by enabling consumers to interact with Bluetooth or Bluetooth Smart heart rate and blood pressure monitors, measurement sensors and other sports and fitness devices without significant impact on battery life,” said Brian Bedrosian, director of deeply embedded wireless connectivity business at Broadcom.