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Short range wireless and the formula for technology innovation

Posted by admin on 13th June 2013

Strong Evolving Technology + Widely Adopted Standard = Opportunity to Innovate

I’ve blogged previously both on the question of innovation and on the need for standardisation. A solid and widely adopted technology gives a perfect platform for innovative new technologies to be developed quickly and easily –a standard provides this base.

The established installed base of billions of Bluetooth devices in the market is one such platform. I blogged earlier this year about the relative pace of wireless innovation, and significant hardware innovations provide the foundation for more rapid innovations, which might be in software. But equally, the flood of innovations might come from the hardware systems or end products designed around the core technology.

For over 10 years I worked with CSR, the very successful British company that made Bluetooth work in a type of integrated chip technology called CMOS, which others said couldn’t be used for a wireless radio. CSR stuck to its guns and quickly became the Bluetooth industry leader. It sold a chunk of its core technology and its mobile business to Samsung (another of our clients!) last year for the sum of $310m.

But, what is significant here is that the remaining chunk of CSR is able to survive and potentially prosper by continuing to innovate on the back of Bluetooth. CSR’s focus is now in ‘voice & music, automotive infotainment, indoor location, imaging and Bluetooth Smart’.

Bluetooth Smart is the incredible low power variant, which benefits from connectivity to the ‘classic’ Bluetooth that we all know and use for handsfree phone calls. Bluetooth Smart (also called Bluetooth low energy, or v4.0 of the Bluetooth standard) is enabling a range of clever new applications, which can also benefit from connectivity to an existing Bluetooth device. Take this application of Bluetooth Smart in a keyless entry application – a great example of innovative product development on the back of a well-established technology platform.

So, create the right hardware technology platform, focus on standardisation efforts and getting the industry behind it, evolve it to meet the market needs, and then watch the innovations flood in….


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