Vendors' failure to keep their cost, delivery, and interoperability promises has seriously damaged Bluetooth's prospects, but there is still time to refocu strategies and achieve success. That is one of the conclusions of the new 89-page report, Bluetooth In-depth: Applications & Strategies, marketed by IGIC Inc. and produced by Datacomm Research.
"There are myriad applications for wireless personal area networks, and there could easily be 1.5 billion Bluetooth devices by 2005," said Michael Hentschel, Managing Director of TechVest Ventures and principal author of the report. "But there is little profit in isolated applications; vendors must create application chains -- series of interdependent tasks that together add value," he concluded.
"This report explains why Bluetooth's future is in jeopardy and presents concrete recommendations for putting both the technology and business models back on track," said Ira Brodsky, President of Datacomm Research. "But it's going to take coordinated vendor effort to create the necessary infrastructure and prevent Bluetooth from fragmenting into incompatible flavors," he added.
Bluetooth In-depth: Applications & Strategies includes six major recommendations for revitalizing Bluetooth, plus sections on applications (the top 50), business planning scenarios, obstacles, and market positioning. Thirty-five vendors representing a wide variety of strategies are also profiled.
Additional conclusions found in Bluetooth In-depth: Applications & Strategies:
- Bluetooth offers the most economical solution for low- to medium-speed device connectivity. Infrared's (IrDA) window of opportunity has passed. The 802.11 standards will dominate high-speed applications, but Bluetooth should achieve far greater unit volumes.
- Bluetooth must work with 802.11 wireless LANs as well as 2G, 2.5G, and 3G mobile phone networks. Multi-mode devices that communicate over the best air interface for each task -- in some cases switching rapidly between them -- will become increasingly common.
- Proximity applications, in which Bluetooth devices are automatically connected when they come within range, will be crucial. Retail kiosks, pay phones, and other public access points will support proximity services.
- Voice applications represent a substantial opportunity for Bluetooth. Headsets are an obvious application, but speech recognition, text-to-speech, and VXML will create new opportunities for voice-driven information access.
- Bluetooth participants should emulate specific aspects of NTT DoCoMo's successful i-mode service, particularly the way it strings together multiple applications, while recognizing important limitations of the i-mode model.
- Table 1 Most Profitable Bluetooth Applications
- Table 2 Highest Volume Bluetooth Applications
- Figure 1 Application Chains for Maximizing Profits
- Figure 2 Microsoft's Application Chains for Dominance
- Table 3 Venture Stage Companies to Watch
- Table 4 Factors Driving/Inhibiting Bluetooth
- Table 5 Comparative Requirements of Major Bluetooth Applications
- Table 6 Why IrDA (Infrared) Failed to Achieve Widespread Use
- Table 7 Six Steps the Bluetooth SIG Should Take to Advance Bluetooth
- Table 8 Comparison of Bluetooth and 802.11b Wireless
- Figure 3 Critical View of SiGe Manufacturing
- Figure 4 SiGe v. GaAs v. CMOS Performance
- Figure 5 Microsoft's Strategy For Dominating Application Chains