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ble-for-iot

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Intro

A BLE IoT gateway (ble-iot-gwy) provides web access from a PC or mobile to remote Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices over the Internet or nearby BLE devices over a local LAN (wired or wireless).

Gateway Config

The gateway works as follows:

Gateway API

Gateway Report

Currently Kobu.Com is developing a Web-BLE gateway on:

The Web interface of the gateway is ALT-API described below.

Resources

Introduction slides (PDF):

Research implementations based on Nodejs/Noble tested under Windows 10 are published on github at github/ble-for-iot:

API specification:

Background

Here is a motive of a BLE-Web gateway development summarized by a Kobu.Com enginner.

Bluetooth comes in several types and they are incompatible in terms of hardware and protocols design.

A major use case of the classical Bluetooth is data streaming based on the RFCOMM protocol such as a headset or speaker for voice data transfer.

BLE is designed for use as an IoT device in mind. It adopted I/O port style data exchange based on the GATT protocol: reading/writing of a small amount of data and data/status change report. Examples are health monitoring devices and variety of sensors.

IoT (Internet of Things) is a device capable of communicating over The Internet; a sensor and/or actuator positioned at the peripheral end of the Internet.

I see BLE as a "last few meters radio" in IoT system development readily available and affordable.

The terms and ideas used in Bluetooth are fabricated by telephone industry engineers while web technology is developed by computer industry engineers. They are very different. I, a computer industry developer, experienced many difficulties in learning and programming Bluetooth.

What came to my mind is a bridge from an abstract web-style data access model to the BLE-specific data access model.

I found a Bluetooth SIG white paper proposing a Web API for access to a BLE device (SIG-API). I examined this API and found that it exposes the BLE-specific data access model and its details directly to Web developers. This means a Web developer using this API should be familiar with BLE technology.

The Kobu.Com-designed ALT-API provides a straight-forward, easy-to-understand and web-firendly interface for accessing data on a BLE device by hiding and automatically handling BLE-specific trivial details. A developer need not be a BLE programmer.

The ALT-API and a gateway implementing it can not only be used as an BLE-Web bridge but also provide generalized web access to WiFi-capable IoT devices or devices with other types of short-distance radio.

I learned a lot from blog articles (in Japanese) by a wireless LAN engineer at Silex Technology.

Wireless Development with Single Chip

Kobu.Com can help develop embedded software for an IoT edge devices with WiFi or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio. It can also help prototype device hardware. Help for selection of an SOC module, sensors and actuators also available.

Target devices are a Linux-embedded box and single-chip wireless device, such as:

Boards

Written: 2019-Oct-23
Updated: 2020-Jul-10

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