Wearable wireless goes Bluetooth Smart

Shipments this year for wireless semiconductors in health and fitness will reach a projected 61.2 million units, up 11% from 55 million in 2013, and will increase to 95.78 million units in 2018, says IHS, while shipments  of consumer health and fitness devices with integrated wireless connectivity will grow to an estimated 75.7 million units in 2018, up from 23.0 million units in 2011.

Bluetooth Smart is the main medium for wireless connectivity in this market.Wearable wireless goes Bluetooth SmartWireless connectivity in sports and fitness applications is often used to provide a link to remote sensors when wired connectivity is too cumbersome, like linking heart-rate chest straps to wrist-worn heart-rate monitors, or linking wheel-speed sensors to cycling computers.

Another use is for data uploading, with wireless connectivity employed to upload fitness and performance data to PCs, smartphones, tablets or online communities for analysis and sharing.

Bluetooth Smart I, says IHS,is  the only major low-power wireless technology able to communicate with all the chief mobile platforms, including Apple iOs, Google Android, Microsoft Windows 8 and the BlackBerry operating system, says IHS.

Moreover, the dongle-free connectivity of Bluetooth Smart gives it an edge..

A wireless technology specifically designed for the health and fitness market and popular with heart-rate monitors, ANT/ANT+, is a low-power technology that, however, does not enjoy the same broad support in mobile platforms.

A PC or dongle is also required for ANT/ANT+, unlike Bluetooth Smart. Still, ANT/ANT+ enjoys a significant market share and seems to have a defensible position, especially in products designed for serious fitness enthusiasts and in cycling electronics.


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