Once in a while, news crops up that justifies me publishing something outside of Incisor's normal cycle. Well, it is one of those times.
For the past week or so the Bluetooth SIG has been getting excited about an announcement in the low energy sector.
Today the news goes public, and it surrounds the fact that the Continua Health Alliance has opted to go with Bluetooth low energy as part of the process of putting together a portfolio of personal telehealth solutions.
ZigBee has also been given a degree of support, but only for one application, whereas Bluetooth is gaining a broadstroke level of support.
Healthcare and wellness (what ever that is) are extremely important target markets for the technologies that are competing in the low energy market, so this is a big deal for Bluetooth. Big enough for SIG exec director Mike Foley to tell me last week that if asked to quantify it, he would say that on a scale of importance, it was (for him at least) 'one step below the potential Microsoft Yahoo acquisition.'
Is it? Well time will tell. Whatever else, this announcement is another reminder that there is one heck of a lot of focus on low energy wireless technology at the moment.
I understand that the ZigBee companies are a little miffed that they didn't get broader support from Continua, at least, this is the word on the industry grapevine.
To allow you to make your own minds up, here is the Bluetooth SIG announcment to kick off, followed by the Continua Alliance's version, which also mentions the ZigBee deal.
More to follow in the next issue of Incisor!
VinceBLUETOOTH TECHNOLOGY CHOSEN AS HEALTH DEVICE STANDARD
Continua Health Alliance Selects Bluetooth Low Energy Technology for Design Guidelines
BELLEVUE, WA – June 8, 2009 – The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today announced the selection of Bluetooth wireless technology by Continua Health Alliance, the industry coalition of leading health care and technology companies charged with establishing a system of interoperable personal telehealth solutions. Once finalized, Continua will include the upcoming Bluetooth low energy wireless technology specification in Version Two of its Continua Health Alliance Design Guidelines. The selection of Bluetooth low energy technology extends the current Continua standard for the Bluetooth Health Device Profile, the only wireless technology specification included in Continua’s Version One Design Guidelines.
Bluetooth low energy technology is a power efficient, short-range, wireless technology that offers connectivity between mobile devices and small, battery powered devices such as watches, and health and fitness sensors. Bluetooth low energy technology features low power consumption, small size and low cost, and integration in mobile phones, all providing Continua a reliable solution to enable mobile devices for a wide range of personal telehealth audiences.
“Continua’s choice of Bluetooth low energy technology – a specification in development at this time and expected to be adopted by the end of the year – underscores the excitement and need for this Bluetooth wireless standard in the telehealth arena,” said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director, Bluetooth SIG.
Chosen over several other wireless technologies after a rigorous 10-month review process, Bluetooth technology was selected to enable low power mobile devices such as activity monitors and heart rate sensors to be used to monitor a user’s health and fitness levels.
“The Bluetooth SIG brings not only a superb wireless technology to our Design Guidelines, but a state-of-the-art testing and qualification program to our members,” said Rick Cnossen, Continua president and chairman of the Board of Directors. “The continued choice to work with Bluetooth wireless technology and the Bluetooth SIG is a natural extension for Continua.”
The radio selection process was conducted by members of the Continua Low Power Radio Sub-Team, the Continua Technical Working Group and the Continua Board of Directors. All teams were aided by experts from the technology and health care industries-at-large, as well as guided by research conducted by an independent third party analysis firm. A rigorous process was employed over the course of 10 months to select from many outstanding technologies. After consideration of required power levels, cell phone ubiquity, required range, and anticipated market penetration, Bluetooth technology was chosen to satisfy the required use cases.And the Continua announcement:Continua Health Alliance Looks to the Future with the Selection of Two New Low Power Radio Standards, Enabling Expanded Use Cases Addition of Bluetooth low energy technology and ZigBee Health Care to provide connectivity for mobile and home sensors
BEAVERTON, Ore. – June 8, 2009 – Continua Health Alliance, the non-profit, open industry coalition of leading health care and technology companies, has selected two wireless technology standards for inclusion in the next version of its interoperability Design Guidelines. The selection of two low power standards will allow additional devices used for health and fitness, as well as aging independently, to join the Continua ecosystem. This decision enables Continua to advance its mission of establishing a system of interoperable, personal telehealth solutions, empowering people and organizations.
The two wireless technology standards are targeted to support mobile and fixed location devices as defined by the next iteration of the Continua Health Alliance Design Guidelines. The alliance has selected Bluetooth low energy wireless technology (pending finalization of the specification) to enable low power mobile devices such as activity monitors and heart rate sensors to be used to monitor a user’s health and fitness levels. Additionally, Continua has selected ZigBee Health Care technology for low power sensors that can be networked in a variety of settings, and utilized in devices such as motion detectors and bed pressure sensors to enhance the daily living of those who require assistance aging independently.
"I am excited to announce the forward progress of Continua and its Version Two Design Guidelines. The selection of Bluetooth low energy wireless technology, pending finalization of the specification, and ZigBee Health Care as standards to be included in the guidelines will expand the ability of Continua members to deliver compelling products to consumers," said Rick Cnossen, Continua president and chairman of the Board of Directors. "Our existing Design Guidelines introduced support for Bluetooth wireless technology and USB. Those standards now will be augmented to allow Continua to deliver expanded use cases to satisfy the broad demands of health and fitness, and aging independently applications."
Bluetooth low energy technology is a power efficient, short-range wireless technology that offers connectivity between mobile devices and small, battery-powered devices such as watches, emergency pendants and health and fitness sensors. It features low power consumption, small size and low cost, providing Continua a reliable solution to enable mobile devices for a wide range of telehealth audiences. Bluetooth low energy technology extends the current Continua standard for the Bluetooth Health Device Profile, the only wireless technology specification included in Continua’s Version One Design Guidelines, announced in February 2009.
"We are pleased that Continua Health Alliance has selected Bluetooth low energy wireless technology for inclusion in its next Design Guidelines, and are excited about the compelling Bluetooth-enabled devices Continua members will bring to the market," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director, Bluetooth Special Interest Group. "Bluetooth technology has become the ubiquitous wireless standard for mobile device connectivity, and Bluetooth low energy technology will provide Continua with connectivity perfectly suited for incorporation in mobile applications."
ZigBee Health Care development was completed in March 2009. It provides a standard for use by assistive devices operating in non-invasive environments. This interoperable low power wireless solution enables devices to securely and reliably monitor and manage data, without Wi-Fi interference. It can support from two to thousands of devices in a single network. Designed with flexibility in mind, ZigBee Health Care products will be used in a variety of settings, including private residences, recreation centers, retirement communities, hospitals and nursing homes. ZigBee Health Care technology offers Continua a low power, globally accepted method for collecting data in a variety of locations.
"Low-power sensing and monitoring is a core competency of ZigBee and we are excited to help Continua build its technology roadmap and help expand the telehealth industry ecosystem," said Dr. Robert F. Heile, chairman, ZigBee Alliance. "ZigBee Health Care gives care professionals and consumers the ability to connect an almost unlimited number of monitoring devices with ease while maintaining privacy."
By providing the technical roadmap for standards-based connected health solutions, Continua is spurring innovation while removing barriers to global implementation and adoption. The publication of the Continua Health Alliance Version One Design Guidelines earlier this year will be followed by the group’s next Design Guidelines issuance, slated for first-half 2010, that will enable new devices, additional use cases and extend the capabilities of devices in the Continua Health Alliance ecosystem.
"Numerous demographic and health status factors will drive the rapid growth of personal telehealth," said Lynne A. Dunbrack, program director, Health Industry Insights, an IDC company. "Continua's commitment to utilize established connectivity standards, such as Bluetooth and ZigBee, will provide the tangible technology base for more widespread telemedicine and remote patient monitoring in the next 12 to 24 months. Together, Bluetooth low energy technology and ZigBee Health Care transport solutions will open new use cases to new classes of devices and services. The continued innovation in connected technology will aid in the deployment of comprehensive solutions for personal health management."
The radio selection process was conducted by members of the Continua Low Power Radio Sub-Team, the Continua Technical Working Group and the Continua Board of Directors. All teams were aided by experts from the technology and health care industries-at-large, as well as guided by research conducted by an independent third party analysis firm. A rigorous process was employed over the course of ten months to select from many outstanding technologies. After consideration of required power levels, cell phone ubiquity, required range and anticipated market penetration, Continua arrived at two technologies to optimally satisfy the required use cases. Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of the selection process that has allowed Continua to select technologies that will support the innovation, ingenuity and technical prowess of Continua member companies.
Labels: Bluetooth, Continua, Healthcare, Wellness, ZigBee