Bluetooth Mesh Implementation Guide For Smart Lighting And Smart Building IoT Systems

"Bluetooth mesh networking is quickly being adopted as the wireless communications platform of choice in a number of control systems, including advanced lighting solutions for the smart building and smart industry markets."
Bluetooth SIG Market Update, 2022   

Bluetooth Mesh Overview, Advantages And Implementation Questions.

Learn what Bluetooth mesh is and what is involved in implementing Bluetooth mesh for the wireless IoT networks.

What is Bluetooth Mesh

Bluetooth mesh is a network of IoT devices communicating to each other using Bluetooth low energy protocol. In the Bluetooth mesh each network device can communicate with all other devices in the range. This arrangement allows for the network messages to travel over the very large distance.

Bluetooth mesh is the ideal technology for the Internet of Things networks. Bluetooth low energy technology allows network devices to work for a long time on the small battery, and the mesh topology allows for the large network of devices that can communicate to each other and a gateway. All of the major semiconductor companies have Bluetooth mesh enabled hardware (system on chip or a module), and provide software development kits, firmware and software example code to accelerate Bluetooth mesh development for the clients.

Why Bluetooth Mesh Adoption Is Growing

Bluetooth mesh implementation for the smart lighting and smart buildings IoT networks is growing. The reasons for the Bluetooth mesh popularity for IoT devices are:

  • Low energy usage
  • Large IoT networks
  • Secure wireless communication with several levels of encryption
  • Native Bluetooth support by smartphones (Android, iOS), tablets and computers
  • Vendor interoperability
  • Multi-application IoT networks

How To Set Up A Bluetooth Mesh Network

Setting up a Bluetooth mesh network is much less involved then setting up wired devices systems. Instead of connecting devices with the wires, a contractor uses a smartphone and a mobile application to group Bluetooth mesh devices together, and define how the groups interact. For example, in a smart lighting system based on the BLE mesh a contractor create groups of the light fixtures, then set up which switch or sensor controls which group of luminaries.

An easier setup, less planning and materials requirement and lower installation cost is one of the attractive points of the wireless IoT networks as compared to the wired systems.

What Do You Need To Know For The Bluetooth Mesh Implementation

Members of the lighting and industrial appliances community (devices manufacturers, distributors, contractors and designers) who would like to move to the modern, smart products which save energy and give end users more control, have many questions on the Bluetooth mesh. Some of these questions are:

  • Is moving to the wireless IoT networks (smart lighting systems, smart buildings, smart homes) going to continue?
  • What is the best wireless communication technology? Why Bluetooth mesh is better than Zigbee or Thread?
  • How reliable is BLE mesh?
  • How secure is BLE mesh?
  • What is involved in the Bluetooth mesh implementation for the devices manufacturers?
  • How is wireless smart devices installation is different from the wired installation?
  • Is it possible to combine BLE mesh devices from the different manufacturers in one IoT network?
  • How to deal with the different commissioning software packages from the different vendors?

This series of articles on the Bluetooth mesh implementation and capabilities aims to answer these questions.

Is Bluetooth Mesh A Good Choice For The Wireless IoT Networks?

What does BLE mesh brings to the table: overview of the benefits for the smart lighting and smart building systems, and what is involved in the Bluetooth mesh system implementation for manufacturers, distributors, contractors and building managers.

The first article in this series was published in the US Lighting Trends newsletter on July 26, 2022. The article provides a general overview of the BLE mesh, comparison to other wired and wireless systems, and Bluetooth mesh implementation considerations.

Part 1: What Does BLE Mesh Bring To The Lighting And Building Appliances Industry

Table of Contents:

  • Wired vs wireless devices. Most of the deployed lighting and appliances system as of today are wired, but wireless IoT systems are catching up quickly...
  • Wireless IoT technologies: Bluetooth mesh vs Zigbee. Zigbee and Bluetooth mesh are the leading wireless communication protocols for the commercial IoT networks. Why you may want to choose Bluetooth mesh over Zigbee.
  • Bluetooth mesh at a glance. An overview of the BLE mesh architecture and capabilities.

Read the first part of the article here.

Part 2: Practical Aspects Of The Bluetooth Mesh Implementation

Table of Contents:

  • Main components of the Bluetooth mesh system: hardware, firmware and software. If you are considering Bluetooth mesh implementation, you will need all three components. See what BLE mesh enabled chips are available, what firmware semiconductor companies provide in the SDK, what is involved in writing software and / or mobile applications for controlling Bluetooth mesh IoT devices.
  • BLE mesh products - vendor compatibility. What options are available for combining devices from the different vendors into one IoT platform.
  • Bluetooth mesh implementation and benefits for the manufacturers, distributors, contractors, end users. What is involved in the Bluetooth mesh implementation for all members of the lighting and building appliances ecosystem, and how each group benefits from the Bluetooth mesh implementation:

      Manufacturers. Need to come up with the hardware and firmware for manufacturing their own BLE mesh wireless controls, or partner with another wireless controls manufacturer. There are options to write the IoT network commissioning software and / or mobile application in-house, white-label existing software, or partner with the BLE mesh software developers and give customers a choice.

      Distributors. Mix and match devices from different vendors to provide the perfect smart IoT system for the customer. If you are using standard BLE mesh devices, a software from any of the vendors or from a third party developer should work for the commissioning and control of the entire system.

      Contractors / installers. Bluetooth mesh, just like any other wireless system, makes installers work easier. Installation of the wireless systems requires much less wiring, and therefore less planning, materials and contractor qualification. Instead of connecting devices with the wire, a contractor groups devices and configures groups interaction using a Bluetooth mesh commissioning mobile application.

      End users. End users benefit from the smart wireless system the most. Bluetooth mesh systems are less expensive, scalable, can be easily expanded or reconfigured, and give end users more control.

Read the second part of the article here.

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AHG, Inc. develops integrated cloud - mobile applications that are modern, innovative, can be implemented quickly and increase your company productivity and efficiency. We specialize in the bluetooth applications (bluetooth devices integration and bluetooth mesh networks commissioning), and business productivity applications: assets and inventory management, data collection, project management and workflow automation. We use modern technologies (mobile, cloud, smartphones, QR codes, NFC, bluetooth) to make routine business tasks faster to complete, eliminate data loss and errors, and streamline information exchange within your organization. We understand that each business has unique requirements, so we give you the power to easily customize our software to fit your business workflow.

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