What is Bluetooth LE and how does it work in XY Findables products?
All XY Findables products use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to allow users to track their items. But what is Bluetooth? In this post we’ll take a look at the technology that makes our products possible.
Bluetooth LE is a form of wireless technology that allows devices to communicate with each other. A Bluetooth enabled device transmits and receives data via short-wave length radio. Most people first became familiar with Bluetooth thanks to hands-free headsets for cell phones. Today, Bluetooth technology is present in a large number of devices for an ever expanding range of uses. Wireless printing, fitness trackers, car stereos and wireless speakers all use Bluetooth.
Since BLE operates like a two way radio, it’s perfect for tracking things at short distances. That’s why it is the basis for our XY Finders. Each XY Bluetooth Finder transmits it’s location data via radio waves to a user’s smartphone. The receiver in the phone interprets that data and displays it in the XY Find It mobile app. This way users can open the app and see if their XY is near or far and it’s last known location. If the XY Finder is near, users can make it ring using the mobile app. They simply push a button in the app and their smartphone sends the command, via Bluetooth, to the XY Finder. The XY Finder receives the signal and then rings. This process works in reverse when users press the button on their XY Finder in order to ring their phone.
In the XY GPS, Bluetooth is used to transmit the exact location of the unit to a user’s phone when it’s within range. Sending this data via Bluetooth radio waves instead of the GSM cellular network uses less power and helps prolong the battery life of the XY GPS. Like XY Finders, the XY GPS also uses Bluetooth to allow users to ring and find their phone.
There are limitations to Bluetooth. Since BLE uses short wave radio it only has a practical range of a few hundred feet depending on environmental conditions. Computers and mobile devices are only able to communicate with a limited number of other Bluetooth devices at a time. That’s why we designed our app to only connect with an XY Finder when it is in use, unlike some of our competitors whose beacons remain constantly paired with their application. The result is that, while it may take our app a few seconds to establish a connection with and ring an XY Finder, users can add an unlimited number of XYs to their account. They don’t have to pick and choose which important items to track.
Bluetooth LE changed the tech landscape and allowed us to make our products effective and accessible to a vast base of users. We’re excited to watch the new tech trends it inspires.