Evolution in technology has greatly expanded our possibility of communication and access to information and services.
In a mobile world, where intelligent wireless communication devices have become everyday items, new applications and services based on emerging technologies such as Java, WAP, SyncML and positioning technology will offer advanced possibilities to facilitate our everyday routines according to individual needs and lifestyles.
Bluetooth is one of the key enabling technologies in Nokia’s vision of the future. By offering the possibility for automatic, wireless connections between devices within a radius of about 10 meters, it allows devices to communicate with each other without a physical cable connection.
This makes it possible, for instance, to surf the web from a laptop, which can automatically establish a connection to the user’s Internet Service Provider through a handset in the user’s briefcase.
Economies of scale
The Bluetooth standard, in addition to its global availability, has broad industrial backing. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) – founded in 1998 by Nokia, Ericsson, Intel, IBM and Toshiba – now has the support of 2,400 companies throughout the world, representing industries from computing and telecommunications, to automobiles and pharmaceuticals.
For manufacturers, a global standard means economies of scale, freeing them from the need to develop and produce several variants to accommodate local markets.
While Bluetooth products are just arriving on the market, consortium members have been laying the groundwork for several years already.
Bluetooth SIG has made huge efforts to test the interoperability of products from different vendors prior to their launch. Every Bluetooth product must earn a qualification from the Bluetooth Qualification Review Board. The product then receives an IP license to the Bluetooth specifications and is listed on the Internet as Bluetooth qualified (www.bluetooth.com).
Small but perfectly formed
The mobile phone industry is laying the foundation for Bluetooth growth. Since Bluetooth is a low cost and low power wireless connection method, it is very well suited for millions of mobile devices. The whole Bluetooth functionality should be small enough to be integrated into terminals without a perceived degradation in size or weight.
Nokia estimates that by the year 2003, there will be 250 million Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones on the market. In the first phase of the Bluetooth conquest, we will see PC cards, headsets, and other add-on cable replacement products on the market.
A first for Nokia
The Nokia Connectivity Pack, featuring a connectivity battery for the Nokia 6210 mobile phone and a Connectivity Card with a PC Card adapter, is Nokia’s first Bluetooth solution for wireless connectivity between a mobile phone and a PC. It is designed to facilitate the download of emails, Internet browsing, and fax sending, complementing the high-speed data capabilities of up to 43.2 kpbs of the Nokia 6210.
More than a substitute
But Bluetooth has the potential to be more than a substitute for cable.
The second phase features a more integrated form in mobile phones and peripherals.
The Nokia 6310 model, introduced in March, includes a short-range Bluetooth radio transmitter that allows the user to connect wirelessly to other Bluetooth devices within a range of 10 meters. Consumers can use the Nokia 6310 with Bluetooth qualified audio accessories.
With the Nokia Development Kit for Bluetooth Applications, a growing number of software developers can develop applications that take advantage of the Bluetooth functionality in products like the Nokia 6310.
The software development kit is available through Forum Nokia at www.forum.nokia.com.
Read your menu
In the longer run, Bluetooth will proliferate in various innovative applications.
It will, for example, be used for local value-added services, secure mobile commerce transactions and access control. Scrolling through the menu of a nearby restaurant with your mobile device or paying your parking fees are examples of the type of location-sensitive services that Bluetooth will enable.
Bridge that gap
Where Bluetooth provides the bridge between devices of different manufacturers, the ability to synchronize data between them has been limited by the many sets of proprietary protocols, which each function only with specific devices, systems and data types. SyncML, the protocol for universal data synchronization, will enable Bluetooth-enabled devices to understand each other, so that information exchange between mobile devices and networked applications can be orchestrated easily.
As SyncML supports OBEX, a core profile of Bluetooth, for transport, synchronizing data between mobile devices from different manufacturers over Bluetooth will be very convenient.
With WAP over Bluetooth, the user can interact with devices in his or her proximity. This opens up a number of scenarios, for example, to be able to contact an information hotspot in a museum to get facts about an artist, or contact a hotspot in an airport to get information on flight schedules.
The WAP over Bluetooth phone can also be envisioned as a remote control, allowing the user to activate other Bluetooth devices in a meeting room, for instance. The WAP menu of the phone could contain links to switch on the data projector, lights and other equipment. On receiving a request, the WAP server would execute a script triggering the on or off operation. Bluetooth as an access technology will prove a vital dimension for future services.
When the location of the subscriber is known and the coverage area of the service can be easily limited to a certain area, it is easy to create focused services.
Examples are numerous:
• Hotels could, for instance, offer Bluetooth access on the premises for hotel information and external information services.
• Shopping centers and retail outlets in malls could provide local maps, product information, and sales information to their customers.
• At the airport, travelers could get information about available parking space when they arrive, information on departure times and gates, as well as information on the flight number and destination at the gate.
Lastly, the combination of the seamless local connectivity functionality that Bluetooth provides with the Java platform will give rise to very compelling application concepts. Java technology will bring a whole new world of applications to mobile consumers, eventually offering a library of personalized, downloadable mobile applications.
On the Bluetooth front, a user might, for instance, download a multiplayer game and play with others in the same room over a Bluetooth connection. Other application examples might include chatting over Bluetooth and using a ‘friend finder,’ i.e. an application that alerts the phone user if her or his friend happens to be close by.