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Bluetooth goes to space!

The image shows one of the most common use of bluetooth, connecting earbuds to a phone. If you ever tried it, you know it works great unless you walk away from your phone as the connection stops after 10m or 20m… And this is the main characteristics of bluetooth: short range. Well, that was until now…

As stealth-until-now startup Hubble Network just announced a series A funding of 20M$ to launch a satellite constellation to connect billions of existing bluetooth devices that would just need a software stack upgrade. These devices would not be used to stream music, but rather to provide IoT connectivity.

Information is on the company WEB site:

As usual, this piece of sensational news generates questions and comments:

  • The technological feasibility needs to be assessed, and this will only happen after their first launch in 2024…
  • Assuming that bluetooth signals can be received by a satellite, the usual difficulties in implementing a telecom-system-not-designed-for that-purpose apply: message collisions, satellite Doppler, etc… Or in other words, how to turn a technical demo into a global service
  • On the business side, while it is a good idea to follow a standard such as bluetooth, it is not a standard designed for IoT. Which means that the ecosystem (manufacturers, solution providers, etc…) needs to be created

In the end, this announcement demonstrates once again the vitality of the newspace sector and the never ending improvements in the processing of radio signals. After AIS, ADS-B, Lora, 5G it is now bluetooth… Maybe WiFi or RFID tags in the future?

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