BANGALORE: Other, faster technologies like WiFi and WiMax became available — but Bluetooth, the original short-range solution for sending voice and data wirelessly refuses to die. In fact, on its tenth birthday, it continues to gain millions of users every year — and estimates put the number of Bluetooth-fuelled devices, bought during the decade at over 2 billion.Germination
When five companies in the telecom, computer networking, auto electronics and industrial automation came together in 1998, in the Lund (Sweden) office of Ericsson where the core technology was developed, they decided to name the system after the Danish King Harald Bluetooth, who united Scandinavia in the 10th century AD. They hoped their offering would bind the PC and mobile communities, likewise.
The formal standard for Bluetooth came in 1999 — and the technology went into some cell phones and PCs a year later. It linked printers wirelessly to computers in 2001; helped create cordless keyboard and mouse in 2002; allowed wireless upload of music to MP3 players in 2003 and fuelled cordless headphones in 2004. Bluetooth wrist watch-computer-phones are a more recent innovation. As long as distances are short-- around 10 metres — Bluetooth is still a compelling way to connect popular consumer devices. Typically, it consumes very little power — about a milliwatt — and offers decent data rates: 3 megbits per second.Marketing Tool
Today, Bluetooth is built into virtually every make of portable and desktop personal computer; mobile phone and music player, allowing users to create what is being called PAN or Personal Area Network — their own version of a Local Area Network or LAN — linking them to their sources of “infotainment” at home or on the move.
In India, the ability of many mobile phone owners to latch on to a Bluetooth network has created a new marketing tool: Bluetooth hotspots have been created in leading malls in the metros. As you walk through Bangalore’s Forum Mall or Commercial Street or Pune’s Shipra Mall for example, you may receive a message from the shops you frequent, letting you know of any new arrivals or special offers. You can also use the hotspot to search for shops selling what you needs — and receive directions that will guide you to the shop.
Indian technology players like Convergent Communications or Telibrahma specilise in such solutions. The airports in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore are slated to become the next Bluetooth zones where sellers can reach customers in a focussed manner.
When E.M. Forster wrote “Only connect” as the epigraph or title-page quotation of his novel “Howards End,” in 1910, he had human interaction in mind.
A century later, Bluetooth is a triumphant technical realization of his dream
6 months ago