BOASTING MORE THAN 6000 health-related applications, the iPhone has unquestionably been a major driver behind the use of smartphones in the mobile health (mHealth) space. But with wireless access to mobile devices becoming the norm, battery life has become a critical concern for these apps. With most mobile phone operating systems providing native Bluetooth stacks, however, Bluetooth low energy (BLE) is proving an ideal technology for integration.

BLE enables ultra-low power connectivity and basic data transfer for applications previously limited by power consumption, size constraints, and complexity of other wireless standards. It is designed for low peak current consumption, permitting operation via standard coin-cell batteries and permitting battery life of up to one year.

To wit: At this year's Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, Cambridge Consultants demonstrated a new BLE iPhone 4S application utilizing BLE devices from CSR. The app demonstrated blood pressure transfer readings while running on an example single-mode BLE deviceone that could readily be incorporated into a blood pressure monitor.