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 They are outdated technologies/systems that support RS-232 standards (i.e. transmitting data via wires).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.
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
BlueSense 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
V.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 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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