Could Bluetooth Mesh Networks be the Future of Communications and IoT?

Blockchain, News

Not too long ago, people from all walks of life where thrilled when Bluetooth technology enabled them to send music wirelessly from their phones to speakers or when they could use hands-free technology to speak to people as they were driving. Since its launch, Bluetooth has become synonymous with wireless technology.

In July 2017, Bluetooth announced that it would now support mesh networking. Mesh networking enables secure communication between multiple devices. They call these communications many to many (m:m). It’s a bit like P2P except it involves more than only two devices.

Mesh technology, Bluetooth claims on their website, “is poised to further catalyze beacons, robotics, industrial automation, energy management, smart city applications, and other industrial IoT and advanced manufacturing solutions.” Furthermore, with Bluetooth Low Energy, that was adopted around the same time, “It represents a major advance which positions Bluetooth to be the dominant low power wireless communications technology in a wide variety of new sectors and use cases, including Smart Buildings and Industrial IoT.”

Enter companies like Orbis and Bluecoin who put Bluetooth technology to good use.

Both utilize mesh networking to facilitate financial transactions at near-instant speeds even without an internet connection, and both incorporate blockchain technology – Bluecoin uses the Bitcoin blockchain, and Orbis uses the NEO blockchain.

While both companies can bring financial services to un- and underbanked (of which, there are about two billion), Orbismesh, uses the NEO blockchain to bring mesh technology to use cases such as telematics, sensors, surveillance and security, process controls and robotics.

Mesh technology works like this: Each person on the Bluetooth-drive network is a node. P2P saw communications happen between two nodes, but Bluetooth could also broadcast from a single device to many. With mesh technology, Bluetooth becomes almost a decentralized network of its own.

The importance of this is immense. With the dominance of such decentralized communication methods such as SMS, privacy is a concern, but also, they are limited to areas with a wireless connection. Mech technology bypasses that and so is of much greater use in rural areas, disaster zones, and subway tunnels, for example.

Furthermore, since mesh nodes can be set up anywhere there is power, Bluetooth Low Energy allows for the set up of low-cost, secure, wi-fi independent networks even in places where the only power might be mobile phone batteries.

In the case of Orbis, all as you must do to be part of such a network is to download the Orbisweb app onto your mobile device. While it’s running, you are a node on the network and can participate in relaying messages, transactions, and so on. You even get rewarded in OBT tokens for doing so, and they can be sent to other network users, or they can be spent on apps and products in the OrbiStore.

No matter what your thoughts are on Bluetooth mesh technology and blockchain technology individually may be, it is impossible to say that the two technologies combined could not be genuinely disruptive over many industries and yet helpful to people who rely on the old guard of SMS messaging and internet-reliant apps as their primary form of communication.

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