Bluetooth. I don't know what the word conjures up in your mind, but I have visions of a Captain Hook-type comrade. I'm assuming his nickname refers to the fact that Pirates & Associates didn’t offer a very comprehensive dental plan and blueberries happened to be one of his favorite foods.
I swear, tech geeks could give J.K. Rowling a run for her money….Google, Spam, Bluetooth, phishing, blogs. Where do they come up with these names and how are we supposed to derive any meaning from such obscure and creative verbiage?
Regardless of the why behind of the name, I can tell you that Bluetooth is basically, short range, wireless technology, meaning…it eliminates the need for wires! It works in two ranges: up to 30 feet (otherwise known as a piconet or PAN, Personal Area Network) or up to 300 feet.
We can actually wave across the pond in thanks to our Scandanavian friends for the origin of the Bluetooth name. It is derived from the 10th Century Danish King Harald Blatand, which, the last name, when translated to English, loosely means Bluetooth. It seems his highness was known for his ability to unite. During his approximately 45-year rule, Blatand is credited with uniting Denmark and Norway and bringing Christianity to Scandinavia.
And today, I am writing about the idea of uniting. Not countries, though. Instead, we're talking computers, keyboards, monitors, telecommunications, and the like. Bluetooth and BlueCasting (more on that later) are going to dramatically change the way you live, work and communicate. Trust me on this one.
You've already seen Bluetooth at work, even if you didn’t know what it was. Think about the people walking around talking into earpieces with protruding mics and no phone or wire in sight. There is a phone there alright, it's probably in their pocket. The fact that there is no wire connecting earpiece to phone is a great example of Bluetooth technology.
I think my favorite aspect of Bluetooth is the ability to connect your computer to your printer to your keyboard to your mouse…without wires! Every time I transfer my computer from Chicago to Colorado or even just walk into my office and see the mess of wires surrounding my desk, I cringe. (For my next computer purchase, Bluetooth is certainly a requirement!)
A great benefit of Bluetooth technology, just in the office or home alone, includes the fact that you can "hook up" your printer or computer speakers clear across the room and not have to worry about tripping over the wires!
Bluetooth works via radio waves. We're all used to a lot of things working via infrared technology, but … if something is in the way, the infrared line of communication is broken. Bluetooth works via radio waves because it doesn't matter if there is a wall or some other solid object in the way.
Devices are Bluetooth-enabled because they have small radios on chips, embedded into each device. When another Bluetooth enabled device is in range, or comes into range, it sets up a localized network, called a piconet. Within the piconet, one device is automatically set up as the "master," and gives direction to the "subordinate" devices.
In order to communicate, Bluetooth-ready devices must be enabled with the same "profile," otherwise thought of as a specific electronic address. For example, if your office is set up on one profile and a friend walks in with his laptop, and that computer is set up on a different profile, the two computers will not communicate. There are 20+ profiles out there and the number is increasing.
Let me guess, you're already wondering about pirating of information from one Bluetooth-enabled device from another. After all, our phones, Blackberries and the like contain a lot of personal information.
It does happen, and some common terms for it, include Bluejacking and Bluebugging. Normally though, during the hook up of your devices, you "pair" them. That means that they are set-up to only communicate with the devices you specify.
Yet, the advertising world has a different slant for Bluetooth technology and that is commonly referred to as BlueCasting.
BlueCasting is advertising delivered directly to your phone. Before you get overly concerned, don't worry, you have to opt-in for this ground-breaking marketing. Which means you have to set your phone up to request BlueCasting. Ads won't just be sent to you.
For a more detailed description, the BlueCasting.com Web site explains where we’ll come across the new advertising form and describes its content. "Located at poster sites, retail locations, entertainment venues, public spaces or embedded in interactive kiosks, the BlueCasting system will identify each consumer’s BlueTooth-enabled handset and deliver a tailored message to them."
"BlueCasting can deliver content as simple as text and still images or richer media like audio samples, video clips and Java applications." This promotional form is currently a lot more active in Europe than it is in the U.S. Remember, Europeans embraced cell phones long before we did. The Nokia company is actually Finish, not Japanese, as most people surmise.
So, imagine walking past a poster advertising your favorite brand of shoes. If your Bluetooth enabled phone is set to "discoverable," an ad or even a coupon for the brand can be directly sent to your phone.
The applications for this technology in the kitchen and bath industry are endless. A potential client walks into your showroom. An ad, a poster or something of the like sends a promotional piece to that person's phone.
At home, he or she looks at the ads and the marketing continues. And what about K/BIS? Can you imagine? Walk past a booth and your Bluetooth-enabled phone captures a money-saving coupon from one of your favorite suppliers. Or, even better yet, walk past the Cygnus booth and Bluetooth technology could download my Internet Connections columns…right to your cell phone!
There are always those who ruin it for others. When you’re spammed via Bluetooth, its called "Bluespamming." And a note of caution (from BlueCast.com), "If someone attempts to send you a Java Application via Bluetooth, we seriously suggest you don't accept it unless you are totally sure of the source."
Morale to this happily ever after tale: Go out and be a good person. Eleven centuries later…someone just may name something after you!