OSLO, NORWAYAccording to an ABI Research study, the RF remote-control sectorpredicted to grow at a 55 percent annual growth rate between now and 2014is ripe for transformation as decades-old infrared technology (IR) is phased out by radio-frequency technology. This forecast is supported by the Bluetooth SIG's announcement that in addition to being power and cost optimized for the sport, well-being, and human-interface-device (HID) product categories, the upcoming Bluetooth low-energy stack will be engineered to support a universally interoperable consumerelectronics (CE) RF remote-control specification capable of replacing traditional infrared technology.

The advantages of RF include a long, 10-m-plus through-wall or object range and a high bandwidth that can be used to report back live, two-way status information from the device under control. That information can be displayed to a small screen on the remote.

Bluetooth low energy promises to be more than a simple wireless replacement technology for traditional IR remote controls because it will be incorporated into the next generation of cell phones as a replacement for the Bluetooth chips that are currently included. "The full rollout of the Bluetooth low-energy standard later this year will offer the first universal approach to RF remote control," summarizes Svenn- Tore Larsen, CEO of ultra-low-power (ULP) RF Specialist, Nordic Semiconductor. Nordic Semiconductor is an associate member of the Bluetooth SIG and has contributed expertise in ultra-low-power RF design to the forthcoming specification for Bluetooth low-energy wireless technology. The company will be among the first to offer Bluetooth low-energy integrated circuits (ICs) when the specification is released in the second half of this year.

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