Bluetooth®'s new ultra-low power networking feature called PAwR (Periodic Advertising with Responses) is a bi-directional network communication technology leveraging the low power capabilities of Bluetooth LE, allowing gateways and nodes new battery minded connectivity. For instance, a room or warehouse can support tens of thousands of nodes which makes it interesting for retail applications like ESL but also for warehouse applications and sensor connectivity. Like other Bluetooth LE transports, PAwR is power efficient using TDMA to schedule transmissions and receptions.
Amid customer engagements as well as our ongoing multi-industry technical evangelization, Packetcraft has identified strong application opportunities for this new capability. Currently, Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL) is the most prominent application.
As shown in this Packetcraft PAwR trace below captured on the Ellisys Explorer protocol analyzer, an AUX_SYNC_SUBEVENT_RSP message is transmitted in the response slot from an ESL device (price tag) to a gateway which can include telemetry data such as temperature, battery level, and stock level. From this trace one can see there is enough bandwidth to receive telemetry data from many devices. A single ESL gateway has a theoretical capacity of supporting two-way communication with tens of thousands of ESL price tags.
Packetcraft trace of Bluetooth LE 5.4 PAwR from Ellisys protocol analyzer
Electronic Shelf Labels are currently growing at a 20.8% CAGR and expected to reach USD 2.9B in 2028 and continue growing to USD 5.2B by 2032. Bluetooth LE is a power, size, and cost optimized globally standardized solution ideal to support the retail market for wireless ESL communication. With Packetcraft Host and Packetcraft Controller offering the new PAwR capability, Bluetooth LE is well positioned to serve the ESL market and deliver much desired solution interoperability.
For more material on other case uses go here and watch the explainer video below.
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