Finalization of Bluetooth low energy Find Me and Proximity profiles opens path to mass-market proximity sensing and security

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By eeNews Europe

The profiles include the ability to find missing keys and smartphones, or alarm and securely lock almost any portable device that is separated from its owner (or authorized user) by more than a certain distance via the use of, for instance, a simple Bluetooth low energy key fob device.

Within the latest Bluetooth v4.0 specification, that includes Bluetooth low energy as a hallmark feature, there are now two profiles applicable to proximity sensing and security:

  • The Bluetooth low energy Find Me profile targets smartphone applications, and will allow users to pair small – but commonly misplaced – everyday objects with their smartphone in order to locate them. One early product example will be Bluetooth low energy key fobs that users will be able to use to find a misplaced phone (by pushing a button on the fob to make the phone sound an audible alert), or a misplaced key fob (by pushing a button within a smartphone app to make the key fob sound an alert);
  • The Bluetooth low energy Proximity profile targets smartphones and other portable devices such as computer laptops and tablets, and further extends the functionality of the Find Me profile to include more advanced in- and out-of-range functions. This could include, for instance, the ability to trigger an automatic security lock-down if a smartphone or laptop/tablet is separated from its owner by more than a certain threshold distance, or wake a sleeping desktop computer as soon as the user sits down in front of it.

"The profiles have been developed within the Bluetooth SIG PUID [Personal User Interface Device] working group by technical teams from a number of different Bluetooth SIG member companies all eager to enable this new, standards-based wireless functionality," said Frank Berntsen, Chief Scientist at Nordic Semiconductor and chair of the PUID working group.

"I can foresee a day when proximity sensing will become a standard feature of almost all modern portable electronics – from car key fobs to smartphones and laptops," commented Michael Foley, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Bluetooth SIG. "And with Bluetooth v4.0, manufacturers can go beyond the devices we know and carry today, to create personal security products that keep our children safe, our pets nearby, and our valuables within reach. The adoption of these profiles is the first step in that process."

"The incidents of people losing keys, smartphones and laptops, and even personal and professional data security breaches, could be dramatically reduced in the future with the use of Bluetooth low energy-based proximity sensing," said Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor’s Director of Sales & Marketing. "And I think most people and companies will welcome a simple solution based on proximity that helps protect and safeguard their valuable portable electronics and sensitive, personal data."

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