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

July 05, 2011 | Paul Buckley | 222902160
Nordic Semiconductor ASA is predicting that mass-market wireless proximity and security sensing will be viable for the first time following Bluetooth SIG's recent finalization of its Bluetooth low energy Find Me and Proximity profiles – part of the latest Bluetooth Version 4.0 (v4.0) specification.
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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.
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