Bluetooth SIG forms new working group focused on fitness gadgets

We've been seeing Bluetooth make more and more inroads into fitness gadgets as of late, and it looks like the Bluetooth Special Interest Group is intent on seeing that trend continue. It announced the formation of a new Sports and Fitness Working Group today, which will be tasked with increasing the interoperability between wearable gadgets and other sensors and so-called "hub" devices like smartphones, TVs and gym equipment. That's a fairly natural fit for Bluetooth now, but it's taken until Bluetooth 4.0 for the standard to really emerge as a viable alternative to lower-power options like ANT+ (now commonly used in heart rate monitors and the like).

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Bluetooth Technology To Change How We Play Sports, Exercise And More

Bluetooth SIG Invites Members to Help Drive Technology's Use and Growth in Sports and Fitness Markets

KIRKLAND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today announced the creation of the Sports and Fitness Working Group and is now accepting members. This group will work together to enhance interoperability between Bluetooth enabled sports and fitness sensor products and training computers (Bluetooth Smart devices) and hub devices such as smartphones, PCs, TVs (Bluetooth Smart Ready devices), gym equipment, watches and more to allow a new generation of functionality.

Bluetooth v4.0 with low energy technology gives any device, from a static data-collecting sensor to a laptop or tablet, the ability to connect, share and distribute information in real-time. No other wireless technology is able to provide the limited energy consumption, usability, functionality and install-base that Bluetooth v4.0 brings to the sports and fitness market.

Bluetooth SIG member company, Mosoro, has announced a Bluetooth Smart sensor that connects to a golf club and can instantly send information about the player's golf swing to a smartphone for real-time feedback on how to improve. In 2011, Motorola introduced the MOTOACTV, a Bluetooth Smart fitness watch that can support low energy devices - like a heart rate sensor, can receive alerts from your phone, and even stream music through Bluetooth enabled ear buds. Fitness giant, Nike, recently introduced its Nike+ FuelBand, a wristband that uses Bluetooth technology to automatically sync with your smartphone to let users easily track and analyze physical activity.

These unique products are a few examples of how sports and fitness devices are being made better with Bluetooth technology and just the beginning of what users can expect to see in this market. IMS Research forecasts more than 60 million Bluetooth enabled sports, fitness and health monitoring devices will ship between 2010 and 2015 including over 17.7 million heart monitors, more than seven million sports watches and over two million speed and distance monitors.

Registration for the Sports and Fitness Working Group and Sports and Fitness Bluetooth Ecosystem Team (BET) are open to Bluetooth SIG Associate and Promoter members. Members are encouraged to join either or both of the groups. Those interested in distilling and prioritizing key scenarios and identifying ways to make products better with Bluetooth technology should join the BET. Members interested in working directly on the specification itself should join the Working Group. For more information on becoming a member, visit the Membership page at

Supporting Quotes

Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director, Bluetooth SIG:

"While there has been potential for innovation in the sports and fitness market, the introduction of Bluetooth v4.0 makes this potential nearly limitless and we are excited about the adoption and use cases we have seen from our members - the Nike+ FuelBand, Polar's heart rate sensor, and Wahoo Fitness' wide array of sensors - to name a few. Our members are choosing to utilize Bluetooth v4.0 instead of other wireless options because of its massive install base, simple paring and low power features. Sports and fitness devices that have never had a wireless component, as well as devices that previously used proprietary wireless technologies, are now connecting further and made better with Bluetooth technology."

Yuichi Masuda, director, Casio Computer Co., Ltd.:

"Casio has been redefining the wristwatch for years by applying the latest technologies. Bluetooth low energy technology has let us create new possibilities for the way people use their watches while exercising, playing sports and more. Using Bluetooth's low power consumption, we are able to fuel these functions with a single button-cell battery."

Marco Subilaakso, group product director, Polar Electro Oy:

"The time is right for a truly open and global wireless standard for the sports and fitness market that will support seamless interoperability with other Bluetooth enabled products like smartphones and tablets. Bluetooth Smart devices, with standardized profiles for heart rate sensors, cycling power systems, treadmills, training computers and other fitness equipment, will accelerate cross-category innovation and will deliver amazing new benefits with rewarding experiences for all exercisers and athletes."

Olli Osara, business unit director, Suunto Oy:

"It is fantastic to see so many sports and fitness industry leaders backing Bluetooth technology. Suunto is excited about the opportunities brought by a protocol that enables a connection between our sports instruments and other devices. This creates potential for a new level of user experience and usability that will help our users have more rewarding experiences in their activities."

Mike Stashak, vice president sales and marketing, Wahoo Fitness:

"Wahoo Fitness is excited to be working with some of the world's top sport and fitness companies to develop new ways to connect fitness enthusiasts with their favorite devices. The clear winner is the end user, who now has increased functionality and flexibility while pursuing the fitness activities they enjoy."

Craig Ochikubo, vice president and general manager Wireless Personal Area Networks, Broadcom:

"Bluetooth low energy technology will play an important role in expanding the usefulness and capabilities of smartphones by enabling interaction with heart rate monitors, shoe sensors and other sports and fitness devices without significant impact on phone battery life. Broadcom continues to support and help drive proliferation of this exciting new technology in mobile devices to enable innovative applications that will have real impacts on people's lives."

Paul Williamson, product marketing manager for health and fitness, CSR:

"CSR is actively supporting leading brands in the deployment of Bluetooth low energy technology for the fitness market. The formation of the sports and fitness working group will accelerate the development of profiles that enable exciting new experiences for consumers."

Svein-Egil Nielsen, director emerging technologies and strategic partnerships, Nordic Semiconductor:

"The release of Bluetooth v4.0 with Bluetooth low energy technology as a hallmark feature gives users the ability to seamlessly track all kinds activity - often via their smartphones or computer - have that data automatically backed up to the Internet, analyzed by motivational apps, and even shared across various social media platforms. We are excited about the possibilities and potential that Bluetooth technology has in this market."

About Bluetooth® Wireless Technology

Bluetooth wireless technology is the global wireless standard enabling simple connectivity for a broad range of electronic devices. Version 4.0 featuring Bluetooth low energy technology creates new application opportunities for products within the mobile phone, consumer electronics, PC, automotive, health & wellness, sports & fitness and smart home industries. With nearly two billion devices shipping annually, Bluetooth technology is the only proven wireless solution for developers, product manufacturers, and consumers worldwide. Backed by industry leading companies, the Bluetooth SIG empowers more than 15,000 member companies to collaborate, innovate and guide Bluetooth wireless technology. For more information please visit Bluetooth wireless technology: Simple. Secure. Everywhere.