ABI Research forecasts that Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices will exceed 1.6 billion annual shipments by 2023. Growth in segments like smart home, beacons and asset tracking, emerging IoT applications, alongside growth in existing key markets and the emergence of audio over BLE will enable the technology to achieve a CAGR of 27% between 2018 and 2023, tripling in size.
Andrew Zignani, senior analyst at ABI Research, says the growth in BLE stems from continued technical enhancements that take advantage of opportunities arising from growing number of applications in various vertical markets.
“BLE’s ubiquitous support in mobile devices, combined with its ability to support mesh networking, beacon functionality, and most recently, centimeter level location accuracy with the introduction of Bluetooth 5.1 and radio direction finding (RDF), is enabling BLE to be increasingly leveraged within smart consumer devices, larger scale home and commercial building automation environments, and RTLS deployments with more stringent accuracy requirements,” says Zignani.
By 2020 Bluetooth is anticipated to enable high-quality audio streaming over BLE, providing a boost for the existing headset market and the emerging True Wireless audio device market.
Zignani cites announcements at CES2019 such as Dialog Semiconductor demonstrating an audio over BLE proof of concept utilizing their SmartBond SoCs. “From 2020, we expect the Bluetooth audio market to take advantage of upcoming enhancements to better support truly cable-free earbud experiences while enhancing the battery life and user experience, though it may take some time for the standardization process to translate to wider mobile and ecosystem support,” explains Zignani.
BLE chipset providers continue to innovate to provide further improvements in power consumption, further extending battery life and enabling support for battery-free devices via energy harvesting.