News | February 28, 2012

Cambridge Consultants Unveils Bluetooth Low-Energy iPhone Apps for Mobile Health

February 28, 2012 — Cambridge Consultants will demonstrate new Bluetooth low energy (BLE) iPhone 4S applications using CSR’s BLE devices at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Cambridge Consultants recently worked with CSR on tools and example device software that assists developers wishing to create applications for Apple iPhone and Mac products; one key target group for this being the growing mobile health (mHealth) market. 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.

The BLE iPhone app demonstrates the transfer of blood pressure readings, using the BLE Blood Pressure Profile, while running on an example single-mode BLE device that could readily be incorporated into a blood pressure monitor. Every BLE application faces its own challenges relating to power consumption, data transfer requirement and constraints of the smart phone. Cambridge Consultants is able to optimize usability for both the device and the smart phone to meet the needs of the mHealth space.

With its user interface and open programming platform, Apple and the iPhone line have spurred the increased use of smart phones for applications, including mHealth. More than 6,000 health-related apps have been developed in the short time since the iPhone’s arrival. The iPad has also made an impact on clinical environments, with 30 percent of U.S. physicians now owning an iPad and using it to simplify their daily routines, according to a survey conducted by Manhattan Research in 2011.

“We see great potential for CSR’s technology solutions in the mHealth space, and Bluetooth low energy-related applications will open significant market opportunities,” said Paul Williamson, CSR health and fitness product marketing manager. “As our development partner, Cambridge Consultants provided technical expertise and a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with mHealth which will help us significantly accelerate growth in this market.”

With wireless access to mobile devices becoming the norm, battery life is a critical concern for any new product entering the market. Devices for which BLE has been defined typically run from primary cells and do not need regular charging. BLE has been designed to provide long-term wireless connection capability without altering the usability of the devices, and require low-cost batteries that must power the wireless capability for very long periods, often until the device itself is replaced.

“We have extensive experience in getting health devices working with smart phones in a regulatory environment, and we are excited to showcase some of our work with CSR at this year’s Mobile World Congress” said Tim Fowler, commercial director of the wireless division at Cambridge Consultants. “In addition, in recognition of the medical regulators’ views becoming clearer on using smart phones in mobile health applications, we foresee imminent and significant growth in the connected health space. We can help companies navigate the regulatory and technical issues to get the most out of the emerging BLE-enabled mHealth technologies.”

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