Networking firm sees big healthcare potential in new Bluetooth standard

Three months after an industry consortium approved a new, short-range wireless standard called Bluetooth Low Energy, technology manufacturers are banking on the fact that it is an open standard to develop a new range of wireless and mobile healthcare devices.

"Today there are a lot of devices that are working in a sense over proprietary solutions--either wired or wireless--so you end up with a pedometer that will only work with a particular cell phone or exercise device," Craig Ochikubo, vice president of networking firm Broadcom and general manager of the company's personal-area networking segment, says in an interview with Giga Omni Media. "But what we've historically seen happen is when the app exists and moves into an open standard, the opportunity and adoption increase."

Ochikubo also likes the fact that Bluetooth low energy has built-in encryption, making it suitable for transmitting personal health data. However, the standard may find itself competing against ZigBee, another low-power, open wireless standard that was developed specifically for health and medical applications, though, much like Wi-Fi, ZigBee has a longer range than Bluetooth.

To learn more about Bluetooth Low Energy:
- read this GigaOM story