The ability of apps and devices to determine the exact location of physical and virtual objects in space is a key component of augmented reality experiences, and the latest advances in Bluetooth technology could help provide such location services in the near future On Monday, Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the governing body of all things, announced to Bluetooth that Bluetooth 5.1, which is now available to developers, will provide improved location tracking services for supported devices.
The new features allow apps to pinpoint the direction of connected devices to the nearest centimeter. By comparison, smartphone GPS sensors typically achieve 4.9 meters of location accuracy, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"The location service is one of the fastest growing solution areas for Bluetooth technology and is expected to reach over 400 million products by 2022 per year," said Mark Powell, Executive Director of Bluetooth SIG, in a statement. "This is a great deal of traction, and the Bluetooth community continues to explore ways to further expand this market through technology enhancements that better meet market needs, and show that the community is committed to driving innovation and the technology experience of end users to enrich the world. "
With accurate location and directional information, Bluetooth 5.1 enables developers to integrate connected devices into augmented reality experiences such as indoor navigation and object tracking.
So far, AR indoor navigation solutions, as introduced by Blippar and Google, have relied on the visual identification of landmarks and waypoints to maintain positional accuracy. In these scenarios, Bluetooth devices can replace visual markers.
Augmented reality platforms for companies such as Upskill and Ubimax also offer asset management and logistics use cases where employees are asked to products by augmented reality stored in warehouses or shelves that contain components. With Bluetooth 5.1, software vendors could replace barcode scanning with Bluetooth detection.
On the consumer side, the Bluetooth object tracker Pixie already provides an augmented reality experience that takes users to the general location of keys, purses, and other simple devices. Lay objects. Bluetooth 5.1 could allow the company to offer its customers a more accurate location for their persecuted belongings.
"Since the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy in 2010, developers have been able to use Bluetooth Create powerful, cost-effective location tracking solutions for a variety of consumer, retail, healthcare, government, and manufacturing applications, "said Andrew Zignani, senior analyst at ABI Research. "With the new bearing, Bluetooth can better meet the diverse and evolving needs of the location industry, enabling more flexible, scalable and future-proof deployments that further accelerate the adoption of Bluetooth for location services in existing markets, and additional business opportunities open up new applications and use cases."  Perhaps the most fascinating opportunity for Bluetooth 5.1 in Augmented Reality is offered by the AR cloud platforms such as the Niantic Real World Platform, 6D.ai and Ubiquity6. In the AR cloud paradigm, accuracy is paramount to orienting multiplayer experiences and anchoring persistent content, and Bluetooth could solve the location variables for these burgeoning platforms.
"The accuracy of Bluetooth positioning is a useful part of the puzzle for AR systems," said Matt Miesnieks, CEO and co-founder of 6D.ai in a statement to Next Reality. "It will not solve all the problems because the range is limited and only relative location coordinates are specified (ie not latitude and longitude, without accurate and custom settings when installing a base station), but AR trackers and AR cloud systems should It can integrate these signals into their algorithms and reduce some of the computational power required to enable a precise common and persistent AR experience. "
It is too early to determine which exact implementations Bluetooth 5.1 in the near future for augmented reality experiences The promise of accurate location services will be too good for some developers to give up. It is an area of industry worth keeping an eye on.