6 December, 2021

Mobile app solutions using Bluetooth 4.0 – Grooming your business for the future

The Bluetooth technology, when coupled with physical objects and mobile apps, surpasses human intelligence and redefines the information sharing process by making the device- human interaction more organic. Now let us see how Bluetooth technology is being leveraged in real life applications.

iBeacon that uses Bluetooth LE technology for transmitting data to mobile apps at specified time intervals, is deployed at retail outlets to offer customers a personalized shopping experience. Similarly, Internet of Things (IoT), a term coined for device to device communication uses the same Bluetooth LE technology. Smart homes are a perfect example of IoT. In the case of wearable, the Bluetooth technology is embedded in the gadgets you wear and a wireless connection is established between your wearable device and your smartphone mobile application. Hence notifications from your mobile app will be routed to your wearable device.

Bluetooth Mobile apps – Importance of profile matching

Although data transmission between mobile applications using Bluetooth looks straightforward, in reality it is not the case. When a connection is initiated between a Bluetooth device and Bluetooth supporting mobile app, initially they will scan the profiles offered by the partner device. Profiles are the specification for establishing a connection between two Bluetooth devices. Only when the profiles match, information can be exchanged.

When it comes to mobile devices, different mobile operating systems support different Bluetooth profiles. Therefore, a mobile app that is built on an Android OS will support, only the profiles that are compatible with that Android OS.

Bluetooth Profiles Deployed by Contus in Mobile Applications

Depending on the applications and client’s requirements, Contus has developed several mobile apps by employing the Bluetooth profiles mentioned below:

Serial Port Profile (SPP)

You might have heard of the term called legacy system. They are outdated technologies/systems that support RS-232 standards (i.e. transmitting data via wires). SPP enables such legacy systems to use Bluetooth wireless communication for transmitting data. We have made use of this profile to create Blue Sense app.

Hands-Free Profile (HFP)

The objective of this profile is to minimize the usage of hand held mobile devices. It enables to make and receive calls from a Hands-Free device. In real life, HFP is primarily used in connecting mobile phone with car’s audio system. So riders can simply converse without using their phones.

Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)

A2DP enables audio stream to be transmitted wirelessly from an A2DP source (Phone/Laptop) to an A2DP sink (Bluetooth headsets). A2DP profile ensures that the audio quality is good and time latency is reduced.

Health Device Profile (HDP)

HDP was designed to establish connection between an array of medical devices such as blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, weight scales and many more. This profile was put to use by Contus while creating a health related mobile application called V.alrt.

General Attribute Profile (GATT)

GATT specifies the way, two Bluetooth low energy devices exchange information using Services and Characteristics concept. In GATT profiles, connections are exclusive, which means all the peripheral devices can be connected to only one central device at a time.

Bluetooth Profiles Supported by Popular Mobile OS

There will be no uniformity in terms of the Bluetooth profiles supported by different mobile operating systems. The table below shows the list of Bluetooth profile supported by different mobile OS platforms.

AndroidWindowsios
A2DPA2DP 1.2A2DP
AVCRPAVCRP 1.4AVCRP 1.4
HFPHFP 1.5HFP 1.6
HDPPBAP 1.1PBAP
MAPOPP 1.1MAP
HRPOOBPAN
HID

Data transfer issues tend to arise in case of Bluetooth profile mismatch between applications belonging to different OS. However, the problem can be resolved by implementing technical refinements in Bluetooth mobile apps.

Limitations of Mobile app using Bluetooth 4.0 technology

Though mobile apps using Bluetooth 4.0 have proved to be extremely utile for wide range of applications, yet it has its share of limitations.
Profile sensitivity: As indicated earlier, data transfer takes place between a mobile app and device only when the Bluetooth profiles match.
Weak Signal Strength: It allows only short range communication that is around 70 meters and owing to minimum power consumption, the signal strength is very weak.
Signal Interference: Bluetooth 4.0 uses 2.4GHz spectrum, which is said to be a noisy band as many Wi-Fi connections use this frequency. Hence, when Bluetooth mobile app picks up a signal, interferences from other signals are bound to occur.

Breathtaking Bluetooth Mobile apps developed by Contus

Contus has successfully delivered projects related to building Bluetooth mobile apps for diverse industries such as healthcare, automobiles, hospitality and so on. Here are some of the noteworthy implementations:

Mobile app for Indian automobile giant Mahindra

Mahindra-Blue-sense-appBlueSense app was delivered in iOS and Windows 8 platform for Mahindra Scorpio, Mahindra XUV500, &Mahindra TUV 300. As Bluetooth SPP is used, the driver can control the audio infotainment system of his car from his mobile device. Apart from this, the app was fed several features. For instance when the user forgets to lock the car door or the air pressure in tire is low the user gets notifications instantly. Further this app enabled the users to set remainders. So users will get reminder notifications about the vehicle service due date or insurance renewal date.

Channelizing Bluetooth & wearable towards human safety

Varlt-mobile-appV.alrt, a mobile app built on iOS and Android platform, was built with a prime motive to protect humans from danger. This application is designed to support the combination of a wearable technology and Bluetooth mobile app. As Bluetooth Low Energy technology was used the wearable device will be wirelessly connected to smartphone. So in case of any emergency, the user needs to tap the wearable device. The tapping will trigger V.alrt mobile app to automatically send notifications or alert calls to the people in emergency contact list.

Scaling customer retention for Boston’s popular pub chain

Rewardinator-mobile-appRewardinator app was developed for Landsdowne pub, a leading pub chain in Boston. Realizing the importance of customer engaging features, the Rewardinator app was developed by incorporating AR (Augmented Reality), Reward concept and LBS (Location Based Services) features. The LBS feature is reliant on Bluetooth LE technology. When a customer (who has installed the Rewardinator app) happens to be in a location nearer to the pub, he will instantly receive notifications about the nearby pub’s location details, deals offers and so on. Customers having this app found it to be extremely engaging and Landsdowne Pub witnessed a significant improvement in the customer retention rate.

With new technologies evolving every now and then, mobile apps created using Bluetooth technology are here to stay and to pave way for breathtaking innovations to come in the future.

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I work for the Digital Marketing team at Contus. I am an avid reader and my ultimate goal is to convey complex information in a simple and an interesting manner.

26 Comments

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      Hi. Thanks for getting in touch. It is not possible to commit a definite sum as cost. We need to outline the project requirements, resources required and equipment cost, if any before a cost can be arrived at. Let us know your requirements at bd@contus.in and we will revert with a promising quote.

  1. Sherry Reply

    Do you have any idea as to how long does Apple app approval process take, when it comes to mobile apps that control Bluetooth Smart?

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      Yes. In fact, we have done several enhancements and modification tasks for our clients in the recent past. From perfect UIs to adding components to existing apps, we do all possible customizations/enhancements that our customers ask for.

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      Serial port profile is outdated as it supports RS-232 standards. SPP enables legacy systems to transfer data via Bluetooth.

      1. Vignesh Post author Reply

        That cannot happen in the near future. But you really cannot say. If there is advancement in the augmented reality technology, things could go the online way. That is why I have highlighted the importance of opening an online shoe boutique.

  2. Alex Reply

    Remote app controlling by building a Bluetooth touch screen app is what I’m aiming to do? Will I be able to control any app in a smartphone via the touch screen device or will there be restriction? If so what would it be?

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      Using Bluetooth touch screen device you can control any mobile application, android or iOS. As a matter of fact, there will be restrictions when it comes to apps that are pre-built on a smartphone. Only if the phone’s manufacturer permits or support such sync you’ll be able to control them.

      For instance if you want to access the phonebook or click a picture using a phone’s camera, it is necessary that the phone supports hands free phone book or camera handling for you to control it via your Bluetooth touchscreen app.

  3. Faulkner Reply

    can you let me know the appropriate bluetooth profilefor interconnecting two devices in order to create video streaming capability between them

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      Yup, it is VDP (Video Distribution Profile). For instance between a bluetooth-enabled video recorder can be connected with any other hardware that renders visuals, say a monitor or a tv, and the profile to be tapped in Video Distribution Profile.

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      No, they are not. Bluetooth is a technology. Bluetooth SIG is a consortium of sorts where every enterprise that creates or sells any products that runs on bluetooth. So, if you want to build bluetooth 4.0 android app, you will have to become a member of the SIG.

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      Not at present. We are yet to build any APIs standard for bluetooth smart. Our experience comprises of building custom and specific APIs for projects our clients entrust us with. However, we are interested in case you have a proposition. Mail us at bd@contus.in.

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      Hello. The developer cost is arrived at depending on the manhours basis. The project requirement and the tasks involved forms the basis for determining the developer cost. If you can let us know your exact requirements, a feasible developer cost can be arrived at.

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      There are no direct ways of opening an app using Bluetooth. But as of now, it is possible to share the .apk of an app from one phone to another. Else, a specific app will have to be created to make the bluetooth signals listen to commands that will open another app.

    1. Vignesh Post author Reply

      Bluetooth BR/EDR (Bit Rate/Enhacned Data Rate) is apt for music or high quality data sharing. Bluetooth LE is more appropriate for wearable devices. Bluetooth BR/EDR will continue to be used for bluetooth app development since their use in audio/video industry is phenomenal.

  4. Rajen Singh Reply

    Nowdays android and ios development is high in demand and apps development is necessary for today’s global market. There are such a great information about `apps, very appreciating.

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