You’ve seen people walking down the street talking into headsets or listening to speakers connected to their phones. These are both examples of Bluetooth technology and it’s transforming the way we talk and live.
There are many different types of Bluetooth connected devices, but you likely don’t know how it works. You use it every day, but take for granted the time, effort, and energy that has gone into developing and creating this technology.
We’ve developed this guide to help you understand what is Bluetooth technology and how it impacts society today and in the future.
The Origins of Bluetooth Technology
Cell phones were becoming popular in the mid-1990s and the company, Ericsson, created Bluetooth in 1994 as a way to wirelessly connect headphones. Traditionally, headsets could only be connected via wired connections and it could be difficult to manage.
The wires got in the way and they were easily broken. Wireless headsets allowed you to keep the phone in their pocket, but still answer and talk to people on the phone.
The technology was named after King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsoon who united Denmark and Norway and had a tooth that was blue in color. The name was never meant to be permanent and was supposed to be replaced with a more serious name, but they couldn’t get the trademark in time for RadioWire and spread throughout the world.
The logo merges two runes, Futhark and Bjarken, which are the initials of the infamous King Bluetooth.
Developed as a Wireless Standard
In 1996, the leading companies in cellular technology met to discuss creating a standard wireless technology that could be used between different phones and technologies. Before Bluetooth, companies are proprietary technology, but what worked on Nokia couldn’t work on an Ericsson.
It’s like the VHS versus Beta tape controversy of the 80s. They realized that if third parties wanted to develop wireless products, it would be easier if there was a universal standard that all phones could follow.
Bluetooth became this standard in 1996 and is still the standard today. The reason why a wireless standard was needed is there needs to be both a hardware and software connection.
The phone needs to send a signal and the product needs to be able to understand this and connect with the phone. If there wasn’t a standard, then not all products could connect. Bluetooth is pretty reliable, but every now and then you might see Bluetooth not available on Mac.
What Is Bluetooth Technology?
Let’s take a common example of a cell phone connected to a set of wireless headphones. The phone is known as the master and uses Bluetooth technology to send out a signal that is picked up by slaves.
The slaves are the products that connect to the Bluetooth phone. A master phone can have as many as seven slave connections. For example, a computer can connect via Bluetooth to a keyboard, mouse, printer, headphones, etc. at the same time.
When pairing a Bluetooth device, the device becomes the master and then switches to become the slave.
How Is Bluetooth Different Than Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is also a wireless standard and is what your phone uses to connect to the Internet. It’s not the same as a Bluetooth connection. It replaced high-speed Internet cables and works on high bandwidth.
Before Wi-Fi, everything connected to the Internet needed a wired connection such as an ethernet cable. It wasn’t meant to connect devices.
Bluetooth was designed for connecting portable devices. Wi-Fi is a strong signal, but Bluetooth uses a weak signal and doesn’t cause interference. Your phone can have a Wi-Fi connection and a Bluetooth connection at the same time.
The Internet of Things
What exactly is the Internet of Things? It’s the connectivity of large items such as refrigerators, lights, and more for personal items and even factory and large scale manufacturing applications. You could have these connections set up via Wi-Fi, but the problem is setting it up.
The benefit of Bluetooth is there isn’t any setup. It’s simply connected and it works. In a manufacturing environment, Bluetooth connections can help transmit data and other functions with little hassle and low bandwidth.
In your house, it means your Nest computer system can tell you the temperature or a connected furnace that says its time to change the filter.
The Internet of Things grows each day as items as small as crock pots, washers and dryers, and hundreds of other devices. The biggest downside of a Bluetooth connection is range.
If you have a large smart home, you can have a difficult time maintaining a connection as you walk throughout the house. As Bluetooth technology grows, improvements are made to increase range.
The newest Bluetooth version has four times the range, twice the speed, and messaging broadcast capacity increased 800 percent. It was designed specifically for adoption into the Internet of Things.
The Future of Bluetooth
The world is more connected now than ever before and this trend will continue you into the future. As we become more dependent on machines, the ability to easily connect these machines to phones and computers will become an important part of society.
The Internet of Things is currently a novelty as many homes have on a few items that connect to a central housing hub, but in the future, this will become the norm. We’ll be able to control almost all electronic aspects of our home from Bluetooth devices.
Its use in science and manufacturing will increase as well as people realize the importance of connectivity and data transference to help streamline production.
This Is Just the Beginning of Bluetooth
When they named this new wireless technology Bluetooth in 1996 in honor of a king with a bad tooth, the companies had no idea how important this new technology would become. From the humble beginnings of connecting headphones to cell phones to the impressive connections between massive manufacturing technology, Bluetooth will be a lasting aspect of the digital world.
If you want more information about Bluetooth technology or better understand what is Bluetooth technology, then please explore our site.