Weekly Bluetooth Industry Report [May 1, 2020]

Bluetooth Developer Academy

The one-stop resource for Bluetooth developers  
May’s courses: Intro to Bluetooth mesh,
Developing BLE Background Apps for iOS (using SwiftUI)

Check out the full courses library

Bluetooth-enabled technology will empower the future of hearing
The recent World Hearing Day gave us the opportunity to raise awareness and shed light on the reasons why hearing loss is a pressing, far-reaching problem that needs decisive measures. Over 5% of the world’s population, which roughly constitutes 466 million people, is affected by hearing loss. Furthermore, according to the charity Action on Hearing Loss, one-fifth of the UK society will struggle with this problem by 2035.

UL Offers Remote Testing for Bluetooth SIG Qualification
UL, a leading global safety science company, in response to travel restrictions created by public safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic is supporting Bluetooth® Special Interest Group (SIG) remote audit testing and test case requirements. The Bluetooth SIG will accept remote audit testing and results submitted by an accredited Bluetooth Qualification Test Facility (BQTF), with authorized scope, on behalf of customers that have access to the validated test equipment to use in their facilities for the test cases.

Apple and Google’s COVID-19 Exposure Notification API: Questions and Answers
Apple and Google are undertaking an unprecedented team effort to build a system for Androids and iPhones to interoperate in the name of technology-assisted COVID-19 contact tracing. The companies’ plan is part of a torrent of proposals to use Bluetooth signal strength to enhance manual contact tracing with proximity-based mobile apps. As Apple and Google are an effective duopoly in the mobile operating system space, their plan carries special weight.

Coronavirus contact-tracing apps a good idea — if ‘done correctly’: Canadian cybersecurity expert
They say there’s an app for everything, but does that include contact tracing for the coronavirus? According to digital security expert Ritesh Kotak, it’s a good idea, as long as it’s implemented properly. “As these restrictions start to get looser and people start to travel from province to province again, we’re going to need better data to be aggregated and talk to each other,” Kotak — a tech industry consultant who has helped develop cybercrime prevention strategies for police forces across Canada and internationally — told 680 CJOB.

iOS 13.5 Beta 3 Has Toggle to Enable COVID-19 Exposure Notifications, Skips Face ID When Wearing Mask
The new iOS 13.5 beta seeded to developers today includes a toggle that allows testers to enable COVID-19 exposure notifications. Here’s what happens when you toggle the feature on: Once enabled, users’ devices will regularly send out a beacon via Bluetooth that
includes a privacy-preserving identifier — basically, a string of random numbers that aren’t tied
to a user’s identity and change every 10-20 minutes for additional protection.

Silicon Laboratories BLUETOOTH 5.2 SoCs | Featured Product Spotlight
Silicon Labs’ EFR32BG22 Bluetooth 5.2 SoCs are a low-power and secure single-chip solution designed for high volume and battery-powered designs using Bluetooth 5.2, Bluetooth direction finding, and Bluetooth mesh networking. The SoCs have an Arm Cortex-M33 core that can run at up to 76.8MHz and is complemented by a DSP and FPU for fast and efficient signal processing.

Blue Raises $1.1 Million Seed Funding from Billionaire VC Tim Draper
Blue, a smart business card and mobile app for the modern age, announced that it closed its $1.368M Series Seed Round with lead billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, who has previously backed Tesla, SpaceX, Coinbase and Twitter, investing $1M through Draper Associates. Draper University Ventures also participated in the round and invested $100,000.

How Apple and Google will let your phone warn you if you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus
On April 10, Apple and Google announced a coronavirus exposure notification system that will be built into their smartphone operating systems, iOS and Android. The system uses the ubiquitous Bluetooth short-range wireless communication technology. There are dozens of apps being developed around the world that alert people if they’ve been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

What Apple And Google Need To Do To Make Contact Tracing Trustworthy
Apple and Google have announced that they are partnering on a new set of APIs to allow contact tracing to be an embedded aspect of their operating systems, rather than relying on an app to perform contact tracing. The information that has been released so far reveals a huge emphasis on the privacy-protecting anonymization of the data collected by the system, but my concern is the complete lack of any information on how they intend to do the most important part well – use Bluetooth (BLE) measurements for high-performance contact tracing.

Contact tracing apps unsafe if Bluetooth vulnerabilities not fixed
As more governments turn to contact tracing apps to aid in their efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak, cybersecurity experts are warning this may spark renewed interest in Bluetooth attacks. They urge developers to ensure such apps are regularly tested for vulnerabilities and release patches swiftly to plug potential holes, while governments should provide assurance that their databases are secure and the data collected will not be used for purposes other than as originally intended. 

Xicato Introduces New Portfolio of Premium Smart Linear LED Lights
Xicato, the leading provider of Bluetooth smart building wireless controls and highest quality light sources, today announced the introduction of XFL, the next generation of smart enabled linear lighting solutions that live up to quality standards the company’s LED spot lights have set for the market over the past 12 years. The complete and focused portfolio is designed to support creativity and ease of product selection for lighting designers, specifiers, and customers without the typical pain of searching through endless legacy SKUs often associated with other product portfolios in the market.

LDAC, aptX, AAC… What’s the best Bluetooth audio codec?
Wireless audio is clearly the future. As manufacturers kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack and continue to flood the market with Bluetooth headphones and true wireless earbuds, one phrase keeps cropping up in reviews – Bluetooth audio codecs. But what does this technical specification actually mean? What’s the best codec for audio quality and connection stability? Allow us to explain.

Encryption system for a secure contact tracing app
In the fight against Covid-19, an interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a model for a contact tracing app that protects personal data. The concept is based on an encryption process that prevents the temporary contact numbers (TCNs) of infected individuals from ending up on the phones of their contacts. A prototype is now undergoing testing in cooperation with the ITO Open Source Consortium. The app has also successfully completed the Bluetooth Special Interest Group qualification process.

OnAsset Intelligence Successfully Conducts World’s Largest Industrial Bluetooth® Density Test
OnAsset Intelligence, the leading provider of supply chain tracking and monitoring solutions, has successfully proven that Bluetooth Low Energy 5 (Bluetooth LE) is viable for large-scale industrial use cases. In an industry first, OnAsset’s Bluetooth LE gateway has read 12,000 Sentinel Bluetooth 5 tags in a single room in under 60 seconds. 

This Website Shows How Bluetooth, Used in Coronavirus Tracing, Is Everywhere
Several governments and tech companies are building apps or systems to help trace contact between people potentially spreading the coronavirus, and warning them about what next steps to take. Some of them rely on Bluetooth Low Energy, which lets devices within close proximity communicate with one another.

Will social distancing devices be needed at work?
While 67.91 per cent have been asked by their employers to work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are starting to think about what the recovery and return to the workplace will look like once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Technology to help with social distancing could play a big part, as seen at a Ford Motors factory in Plymouth, Mich. where a group of volunteers is trying out watch-like wearables that vibrate when employees come within six feet of each other.

Proxy bought Motiv to make rings into wireless keys
The folks at Proxy run a system that turns your iPhone into a secure wireless key to open doors with special digital locks. Now they’ve acquired the company Motiv, a company you might remember from their smart rings. They’ve decided to join forces to bring a more interesting future to the world, complete with a slightly more magical – and slightly more intuitive – digital means for opening doors and locks of all sorts.

Contact-tracing apps: Why the NHS said no to Apple and Google’s plan
With traditional public health contact-tracing methods unable to keep up with the pace of the pandemic, the UK government has been working on a tool to digitally track and warn people who have been around someone who is showing symptoms of the coronavirus. But the health service’s innovation agency NHSX has now confirmed that it will not be following the approach jointly put forward by Apple and Google to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, and will be taking a different approach.

Q&A: How to combat SweynTooth medical device hackers
Three researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Matheus Garbelini, Sudipta Chattopadhyay, and Chundong Wang, have made details of the vulnerabilities available having notified impacted manufacturers late last year. The name “SweynTooth” covers a dozen flaws in the software development kits (SDKs) responsible for supporting Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communications that are provided by vendors of system-on-a-chip (SoC) chipsets. The vulnerabilities are believed to be on more than 480 different end-user devices. 

Suprema Mobile Access Contactless Access Control Solution Comes With NFC And BLE
Suprema Inc., a globally-renowned provider of security and biometrics solutions, has announced ‘Suprema Mobile Access’, a new mobile contactless solution and complete platform for managing, issuing and tracking access credentials using smartphones. As access control systems have evolved beyond physical access cards, access control solutions using mobile phones as a credential were introduced.

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