Originally conceived as a wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables, Bluetooth® technology has become the global wireless standard for short-range, low-power wireless connectivity. Now, Bluetooth technology enables multiple ways to connect, from simple point-to-point to broadcasting to mesh connections, This expansion of Bluetooth innovation is accelerating new markets like smart buildings.

In 2000, when Bluetooth technology was first commercialized, around 800,000 Bluetooth enabled devices were shipping every year. Today, more than 10 million devices are shipped each day.

How It All Started

Initiated in the early 1990s, Ericsson Mobile in Lund, Sweden laid the groundwork for a short-range radio technology that would support the development of wireless headsets. Shortly thereafter, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and Toshiba formalized the creation of a wire replacement for communicating voice and data between instruments. To ensure the standardization and interoperability of this technology, the founding companies formed the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in 1998.

“Bluetooth…was possibly one of the most rapid developments of a global creation standard – from idea to commercial deployment.”

Glen Collinson, Blu Wireless Technology

By the end of the first year, more than 4,000 companies had signed on as members of the Bluetooth SIG. Today, there are more than 33,000 member companies dedicated to perfecting and advancing a flexible, reliable, and secure wireless connection solution.

“Looking back, Bluetooth® was a remarkable combination of technology and world class technical marketing,” said Glen Collinson, a non-executive director of Blu Wireless Technology and co-founder of Bluetooth pioneer Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR). “It was possibly one of the most rapid developments of a global creation standard – from idea to commercial deployment – there has ever been.

The Man Behind the Tooth

For how innovative the technology is, the name doesn’t sound techie. Bluetooth® isn’t an acronym and doesn’t stand for anything. Surprisingly, the name dates back more than a millennia to King Harald Bluetooth Gormsson who was well known for two things: Uniting Denmark and Norway in 958 and for his dead tooth, which was a dark blue/grey color and earned him the nickname Bluetooth.

In the mid-nineties, when industry leaders from Intel, Ericsson, and Nokia met to plan the standardization of this technology, Jim Kardash from Intel suggested Bluetooth as a temporary code name. Kardash was later quoted as saying, “King Harald Bluetooth…was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.”

The name caught on fast and spread throughout the industry, becoming synonymous with short-range wireless technology.

Today, there are more than 33,000 member companies dedicated to perfecting and advancing a flexible, reliable, and secure wireless connection solution.

The Bluetooth Community

“When people think of Bluetooth®, most of the time they are thinking of Bluetooth technology,” said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. “But Bluetooth is also a community. An incredible community of member companies that are driving innovation, creating markets, and delivering life-changing value to people around the world.”

Bluetooth member companies collaborate to continually advance the technology. More than 2,300 people involved in over 15 different working groups continue to deliver new capabilities, such as recent speed, range, and broadcast data improvements added with Bluetooth 5, as well as the introduction of mesh networking, which allows tens, hundreds, or even thousands of devices to communicate with one another.

For 20 years, the Bluetooth community has created revolutionary standards and innovative products that have established global markets, shaped culture, and improved lives. After pioneering the wireless audio and connected device markets and ushering in the dawn of the global beacon revolution, the Bluetooth community is developing innovations that enabling intelligent automation across multiple emerging markets, including smart buildings, smart industry, and beyond.

Learn more about how the Bluetooth community is powering the global standard for connection and creating new markets.

An Introduction to the Bluetooth LE Security Study Guide

My house has locking doors and windows, an alarm system, and several security cameras.…

9 Resources That Showcase the Realization of Bluetooth Networked Lighting Control in Large-Scale Commercial Environments

Earlier this year, we released an article that outlined how networked lighting control systems…

Highly Scalable & Reliable - The De-Centralized Approach to Lighting Controls

For many years the belief has been that lighting controls for buildings are complex…

Major Hearing Device Manufacturer Association Outlines the Benefits Bluetooth Audio Sharing Will Bring to Hearing Aid Users

The European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) represents the major European hearing instrument manufacturers,…

Beneficial Retrofit: Discovering the Advantages of Upgrading Your Lighting Technology with Bluetooth® Mesh

Bluetooth® mesh technology already has a strong position in commercial lighting, bringing greater energy…

RTLS Provides Real-World ROI for Riverside Healthcare

In a recently released webcast, Erik Devine, chief information security officer at Riverside Healthcare,…

In Case You Missed It: New Bluetooth Healthcare Innovations

From networked lighting control in office buildings to asset tracking in commercial and industrial…

Audio Consumer Research Highlights Strong Demand for New Bluetooth Wireless Listening Experiences

Qualcomm Technologies recently published it’s 2021 State of Sound Report – a broad study…

IoT, BLE Enable Emergency Response to Cardiac Arrests

HeartHero’s mobile automated external defibrillator, which comes with NB-IoT, GPS and Bluetooth Low Energy,…

Bluetooth Range and Reliability: Myth vs Fact

As Bluetooth is becoming more and more ubiquitous in smart homes, buildings, and factories,…

The 2021 State of Sound Report

The State of Sound Report is an annual study featuring research insights based on…

Mobile Access Senior Living White Paper

How advanced access technologies are working to equip senior citizens, their communities and facilities…

Achieving Room-Level Medical Device Tracking Using Bluetooth Low Energy Solutions

For healthcare providers, improving quality of care, reducing costs, and increasing patient satisfaction are…

Disneyland Resort App Offers Even More Magic, More Convenience at Your Fingertips

Earlier this spring, the Disneyland Resort introduced a new online check-in service for our…

Bluetooth Low Energy Uses Phase Finding for Affordable RTLS Applications

Link Labs’ AirFinder Onsite solution provides low-cost indoor location, with BLE tags identifying where…

WiFi Or Bluetooth Beacons For Indoor Location?

We weigh the pros and cons of WiFi & Beacon technology for location-based services,…

Bluetooth® Core Specification Version 5.3 Feature Enhancements

Bluetooth® Core Specification version 5.3 includes several feature enhancements with the potential to improve…

SmartShepherd Improves Scalability For Their Smart Farming IoT Applications With Cassia’s Bluetooth Gateways

Learn how SmartShepherd partnered with Cassia Networks to enable real-time tracking and monitoring of…

2021 Bluetooth Market Update

Supported by updated forecasts from ABI Research and insights from several other analyst firms, the Bluetooth Market Update highlights the latest Bluetooth trends and forecasts.

How Bluetooth® Technology is Enabling Safe Return Strategies in a COVID-19 Era

This report shares insight into how Bluetooth® technology is being leveraged by organizations of all sizes to…

Designing and Developing Bluetooth® Internet Gateways

Learn about Bluetooth internet gateways, how to make them secure and scalable, and design and implement your own working prototype gateway and web application for use with either Bluetooth LE Peripherals or with Bluetooth mesh networks.

Reducing the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission

Learn how Philips partnered with Cassia Networks to help fight the spread of COVID-19…

Bluetooth Market Research Note - Assistive Hearables

Bluetooth Market Research Notes provide in-depth analysis of trends and forecasts highlighted in the…

POM Tracer Ensures Workplace Safety with Contact Tracing Solutions from Laird Connectivity

POM Tracer was looking to create an easy-to-implement product that would allow businesses and…

How to Deploy BlueZ on a Raspberry Pi Board as a Bluetooth Mesh Provisioner

This step-by-step study guide will teach you: How to rebuild the kernel on a…

The Bluetooth LE Security Study Guide

Learn about fundamental security concepts, the security features of Bluetooth Low Energy, and gain some hands-on experience using those features in device code.

Bluetooth Location Services

See 8 use cases for enhancing building efficiencies and creating a better visitor experience, discover new data that supports the latest trends and forecasts, and find out what’s driving the rapid adoption of location services solutions.

Overview – Bluetooth Technology

See how the global standard for simple, secure connection has expanded to meet the…

 Get Help