Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Bluetooth Low Energy to dominate wearables connectivity by 2015: ABI

Iain Morris
November 18, 2014

The Bluetooth Low Energy standard will become the dominant connectivity technology in the wearables sector by 2015, according to a new study from ABI Research.

By 2015, Bluetooth Low Energy will account for 33% of the market, says the market-research company.

ABI reckons that consumers will struggle to justify the added tariff costs of using cellular connectivity and will be happy to rely on smartphones as a kind of central hub.

Although the wearable use case remains nascent – and largely unproven to the average consumer – price, battery life and component size constraints will affect the viability of wearable devices having a wide area network connection, according to ABI.

“Wearables are not about the consumption of content, because of the small size of the screens found on most devices within this category,” said Nick Spencer, a senior practice director for mobile devices at ABI. “Wearables are about the quantified self, more than likely, communicated via Bluetooth to a smartphone to view the results and then possibly from there to a cloud-based service for aggregation and further analysis.”

ABI says this will force mobile carriers to think about more than just connections when they consider the wearables opportunity – especially if they have subsidies in mind.

Only a small percentage of wearables sold in 2015 will have a wide area network, says the company, but LTE technology will probably be too complex and expensive to integrate into the “finite environment of wearable devices”.

As a result, it expects 3G to be the dominant wide area network technology in the short term.
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