Introducing Bluetooth NLC – A Milestone in the Interoperability Journey

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) recently announced its full-stack standard for wireless lighting control, Bluetooth Networked Lighting Control (NLC). Specifically designed to meet the scale, reliability, and security demands required in commercial settings, Bluetooth® NLC enables multi-vendor interoperable wireless lighting control systems and unlocks the potential for mass adoption of wireless lighting control.

The benefits of standardization are well documented and illustrated. With standardization comes interoperability, and with interoperability comes trust – trust that products from different manufacturers can work together seamlessly, making it easier to combine products from multiple manufacturers to create fit-for-purpose, value-added systems. Standardization also helps reduce the costs of development, expand the overall size of the market, and encourage innovation by allowing manufacturers to focus their engineering efforts on higher-level, value-added capabilities.

Developing standards to enable interoperability is at the heart of the Bluetooth SIG’s mission. But it is not a binary one-time event. Interoperability is a mindset and a journey.

Standardizing Wireless Lighting Control

In the lighting industry, for instance, the potential for greater design flexibility, lower cost of implementation, and the increased future extensibility offered by wireless lighting control solutions began to pique the market’s interest over a decade ago. However, the lack of a wireless standard presented a barrier to adoption, and leaders across the industry turned to Bluetooth® technology to light the path to standardization.

First, the industry standardized on the wireless radio, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), bringing much-needed economies of scale that only the most widely deployed wireless radio standard in the world can provide.

The next step was the release of Bluetooth® Mesh in 2017. Bluetooth Mesh technology provides a rich set of features and options to enable the creation of large-scale device networks. Bluetooth® Mesh alleviates the burden of proprietary mesh development and increases innovation by freeing manufacturers’ engineering teams to turn their attention to the development of more value-added, differentiating features and capabilities. This has helped Bluetooth Mesh establish itself as the preferred wireless technology for scalable commercial and industrial IoT applications.

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