Bluetooth technology is set to become much more than simply a point-to-point wireless access, with the introduction of a wireless networking solution that extends the range of data transmission to more than 100 metres.
Sydney-based Simply Wireless has integrated the Bluetooth network into its range of wireless solutions and is already trialling the technology in vertical markets such as the retail and automotive industries.
Simply Wireless offers a Bluetooth radial access server that can extend coverage up to 100 metres via external antennas. The network takes advantage of some of the built-in aspects of the technology that circumvent some of the barriers to wireless takeup, such as security.
Bluetooth counterpart technology 802.11b -- or WiFi -- is currently the most popular wireless standard, but the Bluetooth technology is inherently more secure. Bluetooth technology tends to be far more secure than WiFi because its signals are not broadcast sequentially on any single channel, making them very difficult to crack.
Company CEO Desmond O'Geran sees 802.11a and Bluetooth as providing the real market opportunity.
"It is all about providing mobility, flexibility and productivity," he said. "Around one-third of our product set is WiFi and blue cable replacement solutions. We are now using Bluetooth to come up with solutions for some distinct verticals."
The network can also operate via GPRS and a Bluetooth-enabled phone, which talks via the Internet back to the LAN.
"You can connect between the four walls of the office, but once you are outside, the big advantage is you can still connect via GPRS."
IDC's research director for infrastructure and communications, Joel Martin, believes small Australian integrators will provide a very important role in the provision and integration of wireless solutions. At the recent IDC Directions 2002 conference, he said companies were "experimenting very agressively" with wireless technology, but the key to successful take-up lies in focusing on information delivery rather than the wireless device itself.
"Get a handle on the killer app," he advised. "But there is not going to be one single killer app -- it will be what the individual needs."