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The BBC's Marcia Hughes
"Household products will be able to talk to each other."
 real 56k

Tuesday, 23 January, 2001, 18:48 GMT
Boom in behind-your-back chat
Wire fee devices offer less clutter and less restrained movement.
In a tangle: bluetooth will allow wireless communication
Bluetooth, the latest in wireless communication, was the stuff of dreams 30 years ago.

It gets its name from the 10th century Viking Harold Bluetooth who brought warring tribes together.

Now in the 21st century it is the name behind the technology that is bringing the latest in wireless communication to all your electronic products and appliances, giving them the ability to talk to each other.

So your TV could know when your phone was ringing and turn the volume down.

Or your food could be scanned when entering the fridge, letting you know if you were out of milk.

Swedish mobile company Ericsson initiated Bluetooth technology
Ericsson mobile - wireless technology will simplify products ranging from computers to fridges.

And all this without YOU having to do anything. It will just happen automatically.

In the home, bluetooth is poised to simplify your life.

"As it stands today we have a lot of different devices and they're all sorts of mini computers," explains Kenneth Neil Culkier from Red Herring Magazine.

"Bluetooth links them over a wireless system which allows them to talk to each other.

"If you had bluetooth fitted in your washing machine, when the cycle is over it would alert you to that.

"It might put a message on your television screen saying 'take the clothes out of the washing machine' all without wires - which makes it very special."

Ericsson's first step

It was the Swedish telecoms company Ericsson that initiated bluetooth technology.

The firm then brought major names including IBM and Toshiba on board to establish a bluetooth common standard and trademark.

Ericsson has been at the forefront of wireless communication and has already pioneered the first bluetooth phone and wireless headset.

The firm says this is merely the beginning.

"These devices come from Ericsson's core - the mobile market place.

"Other manufacturers in the bluetooth special interest groups, and other companies that say they want to develop products, come from a whole proliferation of manufacturers," explains Colin Ellis from Ericsson.

"So people will be going out and buying devices with bluetooth built in without necessarily realising that's what they're buying.

"Their devices will talk to each other - bluetooth will do that - but customers won't know it is bluetooth which is doing it."

But just how much more will we have to pay for all the latest bluetooth products remains to be seen.

Currently it is fairly expensive. Just the headset for a mobile phone will cost you 200 and it is still unclear when they will hit the market.

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See also:

09 Dec 99 | Business
The mobile internet race
13 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Bluetooth products roll out
27 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
The future is at hand
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