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January 30, 2014

‘Magic’ Bluetooth to spark explosion of connected devices, says MicroStrategy

BI firm bets big on the technology despite its decade-long struggle.

By Joe Curtis

Bluetooth is set to spark an "extraordinary explosion" of connected devices in 2014, marking the start of the internet of things, according to MicroStrategy.

The business intelligence firm’s CEO, Michael Saylor, predicted that this year would see many new, powerful Bluetooth applications rolled out as things like credit cards, business cards and keys become redundant.

Speaking at MicroStrategy World in Las Vegas, Saylor admitted the firm is backing Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) to the extent that a whole new product is based on it.

Usher is being marketed as an identity management tool, which can be used to validate identities, authorise transactions and log in to applications, as well as using analytics to track user activity.

Saylor said: "People have been struggling with Bluetooth … for a decade. It never really quite caught. In 2014 you’re going to start to see incredibly powerful Bluetooth applications that are going to catch.

"Bluetooth is going to obliterate ideas like NFC [near-field communications]. This is year one of what’s going to be an extraordinary explosion. Bluetooth is magic."

Hugh Owen, MicroStrategy’s VP of mobile, told CBR that the company’s confidence in the future of Bluetooth was down to the simplicity of its latest iteration, with the added benefit that LE uses up far less battery life than its predecessors.

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He said: "Previous versions would require users to open their apps, the devices would have to recognise each other, and then they’d have to do some form of handshake where they both agreed that they wanted to exchange information.

"The latest version of Bluetooth is much more elegant in the way it allows you to connect to other devices. That means it’s really a capability that’s really going to start to enable the internet of things. Finally there’s a graceful way for devices to talk to each other irrespective of what network they’re on."

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