A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week: Bluetooth Special Interest Group.
What: Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG)
Where: Worldwide headquarters, in Bellevue
Who: Mike Foley, executive director
What is Bluetooth: A short-range technology that connects devices wirelessly, such as mobile phone to headset or computer to keyboard.
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What it does: The Bluetooth SIG, founded in 1998 by Ericsson, Nokia, IBM, Toshiba and Intel, is a trade association that establishes technical specifications, certifies devices through testing and promotes new applications for the technology.
Two-second history: The name comes from the Danish King Harald Bluetooth, known for unifying Denmark and Norway in the 10th century. “One of the organization’s visions was that it would unite the PC world and the cellular world,” Foley said.
Relocation: The Bluetooth office moved to Bellevue from Overland Park, Kan., earlier this year.
Why? Foley lives here for one thing, but there were other reasons. Even though Overland Park has a strong mobile presence because Sprint is based there, Foley said he wanted the organization to be where there were strong ties to wireless and the software industry.
In Bluetooth range: There are also a lot of members with a presence here — more than 30 out of 3,400.
Other offices: Hong Kong and Malmo, Sweden.
Employees: 24, including 14 in Bellevue. By year-end, it expects to have 30 employees, 20 in Bellevue.
Growth: Foley said awareness of Bluetooth has taken off in the past year, with 77 percent of those polled in the United Kingdom saying they were aware of the technology. In the U.S., awareness is lower, at 40 percent.
Less than a year ago, 3 million devices were being shipped with Bluetooth every week. The SIG said the number reached 5 million in May.
Next generation: Bluetooth now enables wireless headsets or hands-free driving in a car; the next logical step is streaming video over Bluetooth, Foley said. The organization is working on higher-bandwidth specs that would enable a computer to connect to a monitor or a video recorder to a TV.
— Tricia Duryee