Bluetooth 5.1 will know which direction a signal comes from

Some, especially real estate agents, would say it’s all about location. That’s only partly true when it comes to location-based services and technology. Because as important as knowing the location of an object may be, it’s sometimes just as important to know its direction relative to you. That’s why in the latest core specification of the Bluetooth standard, the wireless technology is finally getting a sense of direction.

While most will probably think of GPS when talking about location services and features, Bluetooth is actually more common and more widespread than you might think. Especially with Bluetooth Low Energy, which came via the Bluetooth 4.0, the wireless technology has been used in products like tags, trackers, beacons, and more. But while Bluetooth can already tell you in a general way where an object is, it’s not very precise without knowing which direction it is located.

Bluetooth 5.1’s direction-finding feature brings a new level of accuracy to both proximity and positioning features of the technology. Not only will devices know if they’re near a beacon, they will also be able to tell what direction to turn to. Paired with real-time location and indoor positioning systems, Bluetooth devices will be able to accurately pinpoint the location of a tag with centimeter-level accuracy.

Of course, the Bluetooth 5.1 Core Specification is really just that, a document that details the expected and supported features of Bluetooth devices. While the spec is now available to developers, it will take some time before products support this direction-finding ability.