Bluetooth mesh networks (BMN) use mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets on which Bluetooth is already installed. These devices communicate with each other without using a gateway. They can take on the role of a control unit to control lighting systems or to act as a network node themselves. In addition, other services, such as navigation and advertising, can be used to exchange location and context information. In this way, complex, Bluetooth-based (light) networks with very high network node interoperability can be set up. Gateway-dependent wireless technologies such as Zigbee or Z-Wave are not capable of this.
The special feature of the Turck-Duotec-BMN is its dynamic network topology. It enables an intelligent, reflective network structure in which the nodes organize and identify themselves in the lights. In contrast to stationarily-installed lighting BMNs, this dynamic alignment significantly increases flexibility. Due to their open structure and dynamic performance adjustment, Bluetooth mesh networks significantly increase the range between nodes. Thereby, up to four times longer ranges are possible; the ranges between individual nodes in the free field lie between 300 and 600 m. In future, each of the maximum 32,000 nodes can be used by a Bluetooth device as an access point to a BMN. Additionally, interoperability and range also favor additional intelligent functions such as indoor navigation. Such navigation is, for example, relevant for lighting systems when positions have to be determined in evacuation scenarios in order to activate intelligent emergency lighting. In this way, lighting systems can also be used as a secondary data source for IoT applications.