People most commonly think of Bluetooth as the wireless technology that allows them to connect a mobile device to a car or an earpiece. Bluetooth has given rise, however, to a newer generation of wireless technology – Bluetooth low energy (BLE) – which was first introduced in 2011. Today, BLE is the best option for mobile printing and other devices that require short bursts of connectivity.
In order to understand why BLE is perfect for all mobile printing needs, it’s important to know the difference between Bluetooth and BLE. Bluetooth connectivity is designed for devices like wireless headsets and speakers, mobile phones, and is ideal for streaming applications such as Pandora or Netflix. In comparison, Bluetooth low energy (also known as Bluetooth 4.0) is exactly what its name says: low power consumption wireless technology.
How does BLE work?
Bluetooth and BLE both operate on the same 2.4 GHz ISM band. Unlike regular Bluetooth that uses a lot of power, BLE stays in sleep mode until a connection is initiated with a mobile device. The connections are short bursts because the data is traded quickly. Bluetooth low energy devices’ energy consumption levels are so low; one device can run on the same battery for years. Obviously, Bluetooth low energy isn’t going to work for Netflix, but its’ perfect for devices that only need to exchange data quickly and intermittently, like a mobile printer.
Who can use BLE devices?
BLE is perfect for devices that don’t need to stream large amounts of data continuously. This universal-low power wireless standard makes it easy to connect any product to a smartphone or tablet. BLE is the wireless technology used for personal fitness devices (like Fit Bits), as well as for monitoring sensors and mobile printers in taxi, rideshare, and delivery applications.
Where can you use them?
Bluetooth low energy mobile printers are small and light, and can easily be carried by servers in restaurants, delivery drivers, and workers in intermodal facilities and warehouses. They can be used to print invoices, labels, receipts, and other documents.
Star Micronics has several BLE-enabled printers ranging from compact models that measure only a few inches and fit into a pocket or apron, to more robust options all at affordable price points. Star’s mobile printers are perfect for indoor/outdoor use, field service and restaurant environments where they could get wet or dropped. These devices also come with an external power cable so they can be charged anytime, anywhere, even on the road.
Easy to use, even for BYOD workplaces
BLE printers are compatible with a large installed base of mobile phones, tablets, and computers. Star’s line of mobile printers is easy to use with any Apple iPad® or iPhone® BLE device and doesn’t require pairing. There’s no limit on the number of devices that can be connected to the mobile printers, making it the ideal solution for a BYOD (bring your own device) workplace. Employees don’t need to hunt for “their” tablet or mobile device; they can grab any equipment to complete the task at hand. Star’s mobile printers are also compatible with other operating systems, including Windows and Android.
BLE connectivity is the perfect option for mobile printing. These compact mobile printers are energy efficient and cost-effective for restaurants, rail yards, airports, and delivery services that need to print on-the-go receipts, labels, and invoice. Learn more about Star Micronics’ SM-L200 and SM-L300 BLE portable printers.