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Bluetooth 5.1 will be able to give you directions

Location services nowadays rely on more than simple GPS tracking - smartphones, for example, use technologies such as Wi-Fi to help improve the accuracy of location services. Now, Bluetooth is also set to become a better way to detect a device's position, thanks to the newly-announced Bluetooth 5.1 specification.

The headlining feature of the spec announced today by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is location finding. Bluetooth can already be used to help determine your position somewhat, just as Wi-Fi can, but now it will be able to do so more accurately. With version 5.1 of the technology, it will be possible to not only detect the distance to a specific object, but also the direction in which it's located.

This can have a number of uses, such as tracking down items you may have dropped or lost, guiding visitors to a specific piece in a museum, and more. The Bluetooth SIG says that the technology can offer centimeter-level accuracy for location services, which would make it a good solution for navigating indoors. Of course, indoor navigation is likely the best you can get out of Bluetooth given its fairly short range.

The Bluetooth 5.1 spec features a couple of other additions, such as improvements to Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) caching that could result in faster and more power-efficient connections between servers and client. Bluetooth advertising should also work better with the new spec thanks to randomized channel indexing, which will help avoid packet collision, and advertising sync transfer, which lets a more capable device perform the advertising synchronization process and then transfer it to a lower-power device through a point-to-point connection.

In addition to those, there's a handful of minor improvements with Bluetooth 5.1, which can be found in the overview document. The new spec is available for developers starting today.

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