Apply for the development board now

A firmware modem for Bluetooth cloud connectivity

Bluetooth might be one of the biggest success stories of wireless communication, so why are we not using it to its full potential? Well, Blecon just connected it to the cloud…

It’s not often that ipXchange comes across a new approach that challenges all preconceived notions of a familiar technology, so we had to get a chat in with Blecon at Hardware Pioneers Max 2024. In fact, Simon had already given a speech by the time we got to him, so what exactly is Blecon doing with Bluetooth that enables it to be used like a cellular service for IoT?

Have we underestimated Bluetooth?

As Simon explains, Bluetooth can do far more than simply replace cables in short range, low-power applications like earbuds and PC peripherals. That said, it is because of this mass-market deployment that Bluetooth is now so affordable and used worldwide.

Since Bluetooth is still a radio technology, Blecon saw an opportunity to modify the way the protocol is used so that it suits IoT applications and can communicate with the cloud in the same way as Wi-Fi or cellular technology.

To clarify, this is a matter of firmware – the Blecon Modem – which can run on a Bluetooth chip and enables connection to hotspots rather than the usual pairing to a single device. These hotspots can be phones, or they can be routers or other Bluetooth-enabled devices that are connected to the internet and therefore the cloud backend of an IoT.

New Bluetooth opportunities

Blecon’s new approach allows Bluetooth use cases in applications that would have previously been reserved for cellular IoT, supporting reduced cost, power consumption, and size for many products. This includes anything from asset tracking to sensor-based monitoring.

Simon also highlights that the effective communication range of Bluetooth is much further than typically assumed. Hundreds of metres is possible with the correct RF setup, because as previously mentioned, Bluetooth is a radio protocol.

The fact that you can deploy Bluetooth hotspots very easily, including moving hotspots like phones, means that you can cover a very wide area without having to worry about Bluetooth’s relatively short range when compared to LoRaWAN or cellular IoT.

How to test Blecon’s technology

Blecon Modem currently works on several chipsets, including Nordic’s nRF52840, with the required code provided for free on the Blecon website. Companion apps are available on normal app stores for easy evaluation of the technology before signing up to the cloud service with multiple devices.

There is definitely a shift in thought required when it comes to Blecon’s technology when compared to ‘normal’ Bluetooth, but we at ipXchange have no doubt they are onto a winning formula. Hardware Pioneers Max 2024 was pretty much the launch party for Blecon, so it’s going to be exciting to see where this technology has gotten to by next time.

Keep designing!

Love disruptive wireless protocols? We think you’ll also enjoy these videos from Wirepas, Arduino, and Renesas:

Wirepas’ non-cellular 5G mesh network in action!

Unify Alexa, Google & Apple with Renesas’ DA16600

“Making stuff simple…is very complicated.” Arduino’s mission to make Matter viable for all!

Ask an ipXpert: Taking mesh networking to the next level with Wirepas

RAKwireless WisDuo RAK4630 LoRaWAN + Bluetooth LE Module And RAK4631 WisBlock Core Board

Funnily enough, ipXchange has covered a device based on the nRF52840, so learn more by following this link…

Apply for the development board now

Share this

We’re disrupting the world of component evaluation for design engineers and manufacturers!

Discover why ipXchange is a game changer.

Get industry related news

Sign up for our newsletter and get news about the latest development boards direct to your inbox.

We care about the protection of your data. Read our Privacy Policy.