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  Vecta on Bluetooth
  Bluetooth is the name of an easy-to-use system for short-range wireless communication between a range of digital devices including mobile handsets, printers and computers. When two "Bluetooth-enabled" devices come within communications range of one another, they may - depending on security settings and interference levels - be able to exchange data.

Ericsson, followed by others such as IBM, Nokia, Toshiba and Intel, originally envisaged Bluetooth as a cable replacement technology; that vision expanded to encompass a host of real and fanciful devices and applications, including being a serious short-range competitor for 3G mobile phone systems. Cambridge-based CSR has become the dominant hardware technology provider.

  Bluetooth is one of several short-range broadband wireless communications technologies; it uses unlicensed spectrum in the scientific, medical and industrial band around 2.4GHz. The absence of cables and software configuration make communication between "Bluetooth-enabled" devices simpler than today's cable-connected world, especially for mobile handsets. This simplicity has opened up a large market for Bluetooth components and added functionality to many items of personal electronics.

Operating range and device cost both limit widespread use. Early designs, while meeting the 10 metre communications range, are struggling to get costs down to levels that will encourage widespread adoption in consumer electronics products and the Bluetooth device has to compete for access to its radio spectrum with domestic appliances like microwave ovens and burglar alarms and other Bluetooth devices.

Initially, manufacturers of PC peripherals, like printers, are exploiting Bluetooth to provide additional functionality for mobile phones, laptops and hand-helds; manufacturers of "high-end" mobile phones are offering wireless ear and mouthpieces using Bluetooth to connect them. As costs are driven down by integrating Bluetooth circuitry within chips providing other functionality, most non-trivial personal electronics devices will incorporate Bluetooth to provide additional functionality.

Although the immediate appeal of Bluetooth appears to be limited to semiconductor and consumer electronics companies and users desperate to eliminate cables, there will be novel ways to exploit Bluetooth devices for business advantage. However IEEE802.11b is rapidly becoming the standard of choice for PCs and variations of DECT for phone-based systems and technical issues that limit Bluetooth's widespread use in networked applications between products from different vendors remain unsolved.

  Bluetooth's key success area will be to provide the the bridge between global standard handhelds and laptops and various mobile communications and network standards and hence overcome the failure to unite standards for global mobile and network communications. Now is the time to begin thinking about how Bluetooth and related mobile era technologies could help you refine your business processes and minimise future barriers to change by modifying your technology procurement policies.

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