A Bluetooth brick is a battery-powered, sealed device that has sensors for monitoring and communicating information such as temperature or vibration levels. Bluetooth is a standard technology for short-range wireless communication. Bluetooth bricks are especially convenient in industries where cable is difficult to install or requires frequent replacement because machinery is constantly moving. The bricks, which weigh about a half pound and are about the size of a paperback book, can be hung in hard-to-reach places such as on the top of a crane, or in the middle of a moving conveyor belt. Bluetooth technology suits this kind of application because the monitoring devices are not sending out large amounts of data.
In addition to their convenience, Bluetooth bricks are a cost-effective alternative to cabling. Whereas a cable connecting a sensor device to a computer network can cost between $25 and $100 a foot, a Bluetooth chip embedded in the same type of sensor costs between $5 to $10 per device. Although longer-range Wi-Fi solutions to replacing cable have been explored by some manufacturers, industry experts predict that Bluetooth technology will continue to dominate the market because in addition to costing less, Bluetooth uses less power so batteries last longer.