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6 Applications Leveraging Bluetooth v5.4 / PAwR Technology Including Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL)

Since Bluetooth SIG released the 5.4 specifications which featured the PAwR (Periodic Advertising with Responses) group communication capability, applications of bidirectional device communication has been at the forefront of Packetcraft's conversations. 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. Last week, Bluetooth SIG released an anticipated report regarding How the Bluetooth® Electronic Shelf Label Standard Will Impact the Smart Retail Market. And while the ESL market is vast, Packetcraft contends that bidirectional, interactive node communication also has other viable implementation worth discussing.

First, what is PAwR exactly? In this blog post Packetcraft broke down the tech in detail. Short version,

"PAwR defines a new Bluetooth LE logical transport used to communicate periodic broadcast control and user data to synchronized devices in a particular area. This, for instance, allows bi-directional communication between a hub and thousands of end nodes that only have to listen infrequently for information directed to them as they are highly synchronized and correspondingly ultra-low power. By including response slots, we can achieve high reliability acknowledgements confirming message receipt which can be used by the higher layers."

This new tech could enhance a variety protocols and systems in multiple industries as well as retail. Watch the video below to hear how Packetcraft CEO, John Yi, presents a couple sample applications of the tech.

PAwR 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.

6 PAwR application scenarios

Electronic Shelf Labeling. ESL is currently the lead application with support for 10s of thousands of shelf labels, not just updating pricing and product information, but also enabling LEDs to illuminate for quick product retrieval and collecting sensor data such as temperature.

Warehouse Logistics. Warehousing applications of PAwR offer great tracking and monitoring of assets as well as the ability to better manage inventory.

Vehicles. Car's are able to assess and adjust vehicular status more efficiently and accurately such as EV battery monitoring, without needing to add significant cabling.

Smart Homes. PAwR technology offers an enhancement of safety, efficiency and interoperability. With Bluetooth compatibility, devices and sensors in the home can share data and notifications even in mixed vendor environments. An example here are smoke detectors networked throughout the home that can also communicate with other sensors and devices; perhaps a toaster can inform a detector that something is burning to help identify the source of smoke.

Photography. The ability to synchronize flash units or other multi-device photography scenarios within tens of microseconds offers a game-changing multi-device communication application for photographers; if it can be done for photography, then perhaps other similar use cases too.

Agriculture. Using a Bluetooth’s Coded PHY, a PAwR network of sensors can be achieved. An example application in the agriculture industry is to enable multiple moisture sensors a km away from a gateway.

Packetcraft Enables BLE Solutions

As we continue to hear pain points across the board in companies and industries at large who would benefit by the robust, unlimited device communication protocols that PAwR offers, Packetcraft enables Bluetooth standardization into large scale device environments with it's world-leading software solutions to increase productivity, condition monitoring and hone in on more trackable and scalable device management. In a world where data is king, efficiency and sustainability are the cornerstones to the castle. Packetcraft's solutions are a powerful integration into a new, enhanced way of device communication and essentially, kingdom building. Packetcraft's ongoing investment into Bluetooth technology means that new capabilities can be integrated to further improve the application, such as emerging Bluetooth Channel Sounding capability which will afford a more precise distance ranging measurement.

For more information about PAwR and to discuss your intended use case, or to more generally inquire about our Bluetooth host, controller, and LC3 stacks and software solutions as well as our software test products, please contact Packetcraft at

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