Benefits of Bluetooth Connectivity for Small Businesses

Named after a 10th century Danish king who was known for bringing feuding Scandinavian rulers to the negotiating table to settle their differences, Bluetooth is a wireless system that allows a diverse range of IT and communication devices to “talk” to each other. If you are looking to improve productivity and efficiency, both on the road and in the office, consider investing in equipment that utilizes the convenience and connectivity offered by Bluetooth technology.

Bluetooth is a short-range communication system that can be used to exchange information wirelessly between a wide range of devices, including desktop computers, notebooks, keyboards, mice, printers, digital cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and mobile phones. An office that is outfitted with Bluetooth-enabled hardware has a sleek, uncluttered look, with a minimum of bulky cables snaking across desks and floors.

Fortunately for businesses on a tight budget, the cost of Bluetooth technology has come down considerably, even as quality has improved.

A radio protocol with the technical name IEEE 802.15.1, Bluetooth is designed to create wireless personal area networks (PANs) in relatively small spaces, such as an individual office or a car. While transmission ranges can be as great as 300 feet, the effective maximum range of most Bluetooth-equipped devices is around 30 feet or less.  

Because Bluetooth has a shorter range and offers less bandwidth, it is not a substitute for Wi-Fi, or IEEE 802.11, which is used to create networks within large office spaces and to transmit bigger files. Yet compared with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth consumes much less power, and may be more secure. Bluetooth-enabled devices contain small chips that send signals to each other over a part of the radio spectrum reserved for industrial uses. As traffic on these bands can be heavy, Bluetooth devices rapidly “hop” frequencies when sending and receiving information, hindering the interception of transmissions. Additionally, Bluetooth systems are generally protected by data encryption and user authentication safeguards.

By setting up an office that relies on Bluetooth connections, employees can, for example, transfer documents or photos from a mobile phone or digital camera to a desktop computer, or send files from a computer or PDA to a printer—all without wires. Bluetooth-enabled computers and PDAs that have been “paired” by the user will automatically synchronize their calendar and contact information. Workers can also sit or move around the office while wearing Bluetooth headsets that allow them not just to talk on the phone, but to dictate letters or other written documents to a voice recognition software program on a computer or other device.

If you wish to move toward Bluetooth connections, you don’t need to replace all equipment immediately. Instead, some older devices can be Bluetooth-enabled by plugging in an inexpensive USB adapter, or by having a card installed in computers. Companies can start by making small investments in Bluetooth technology, and acquire more equipment as resources permit and business needs change.

With more states banning the use of cell phones while driving, Bluetooth technology is becoming increasingly pervasive in cars. To use their mobile phones hands-free, drivers often use Bluetooth headsets or speakerphones that attach to the visor. While earlier generations of these devices were notorious for their short battery life and static-filled transmission, today they offer much better quality, and at very affordable prices.

Many new cars now also come with the option of integrated Bluetooth-enabled audio systems for use with cell phones that include built-in microphones and speakers. Some advanced systems also feature voice recognition capabilities that allow drivers to give verbal instructions to the phone, making talking while driving much safer and more convenient.

Bluetooth technology may improve productivity and efficiency on the road and in the office. If you are a small business owner, you may wish to consider this convenient wireless system.

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