Alibaba and Xiaomi join new Bluetooth SIG Smart Home Subgroup to boost mesh networking

Miffy Chen of Alibaba Group Miffy Chen of Alibaba Group

In response to growing adoption of Bluetooth mesh networking in smart home solutions, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has formed a new Smart Home Subgroup. According to the SIG, the announcement follows the decision from a growing number of market leaders to adopt Bluetooth mesh networking as a strategic communications protocol for smart home solutions.

The new Smart Home Subgroup has been established to create additional Bluetooth mesh model specifications for smart home and related applications. Mesh models constitute the application layer of Bluetooth mesh networking and define the behaviour of devices connected to a Bluetooth mesh network.

For example, mesh models define how a Bluetooth mesh light is controlled by a Bluetooth mesh switch. Like all Bluetooth technology specifications, the mesh models developed by this subgroup will be available to all member companies for use in conjunction with the Bluetooth mesh networking specifications, thereby enabling multi-vendor interoperability in the smart home.

“Bluetooth mesh models play a very important role in strengthening the connectivity and interoperability among smart home devices. The Smart Home Subgroup provides a forum for the community to standardise the mesh model solutions, and Alibaba is happy to be working with other member companies on mesh model development.” said Dapeng Liu, chair of Bluetooth SIG Smart Home Subgroup, Alibaba’s Senior Standardisation Expert.

More than 60 member companies are participating in the new Smart Home Subgroup including Alibaba, GCT Semiconductor, Lierda, Midea Group IoT Company, MediaTek, Nordic Semiconductor, Novel Bits, S-Labs, Telink Semiconductor, Synopsys, UL Verification Services, and Xiaomi.

“In developing our IoT solutions for smart home, we need the reliable, high performing, and scalable connectivity that the Bluetooth mesh wireless standard supports,” said Miffy Chen, VP of Alibaba Group, GM of Tmall Genie. “Those elements, combined with the existing trust and wide application of Bluetooth across the globe, has given it a unique advantage in support of our smart home strategy.”

“For the smart home market to grow, it needs true global wireless mesh networking standards that can meet the reliability, security, and performance needs of the market,” said Dian Fan, general ,manager of Xiaomi IoT Platform. “We’re confident that Bluetooth mesh is one of those standards and will enable tremendous growth and innovation in home automation for years to come.”

“Bluetooth mesh is one of most suitable IoT protocols for smart home and building. It facilitates flexible deployment of smart device networks with elastic extension and lower latency, and thus brings better user experiences with rich smart life scenes,” said Mr. Zhiguo Bi, deputy general manager of Midea Group IoT Company. “Midea Group is promoting vigorously the Bluetooth mesh based total solution for the smart home.”

Launched in July of 2017, Bluetooth mesh was created to enable the deployment of large-scale device networking solutions, such as those used in control, monitoring, and automation systems. Bluetooth mesh technology was developed from the beginning to meet the strict reliability, security, and performance needs of industrial and commercial markets. Since its launch, over 105 products with Bluetooth mesh networking capability have been qualified from leading silicon, stack, component, and end product vendors (a complete list of Bluetooth mesh qualified products can be found here).

“The release of Bluetooth mesh networking and the recent formation of the Smart Home Subgroup are important milestones in the development of the smart home market,” said Mark Powell, Bluetooth SIG executive director.

“For over a decade, Bluetooth has been the global wireless standard for the connected home, connecting everything from appliances and entertainment systems to tools, toys, and even toothbrushes. Now with mesh networking support, Bluetooth is in a position to help the home automation market reach mass scale.”

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