November 28, 2020
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What Is Bluetooth?

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SIG Progression

As the specification evolved and awareness of the technology and the SIG increased, many other companies joined the SIG as adopters; adopters are entitled to a royalty-free license to produce products with Bluetooth wireless communication based on the specification and can receive and comment upon early versions of SIG publications. Today there are more than 2,400 adopter members of the SIG, representing academia and industries such as consumer electronics, automotive, silicon manufacturing, consulting, telecommunications and many others. The original objective of the SIG was to develop, as rapidly as possible, an open specification that was sufficiently complete to enable implementations. By carefully organizing the SIG and making use of frequent in-person meetings supplemented by even more frequent conference calls and e-mail exchanges, the SIG produced a thorough specification (together, the volume 1 core specification and volume 2 profiles number over 1,500 pages) in about one and one-half years (version 1.0 of the specification, including profiles, was published in July 1999).

Initially, the SIG organized itself into several working groups, each with a focus on a specific part of the technology or on some supporting service. These working groups included:

  • the air interface working group, which focused on the radio and baseband layers;
  • the software working group, which developed the specification for the protocol stack;
  • the interoperability working group, which focused on profiles;
  • the compliance working group, which defined the testing, compliance and certification process;
  • the legal working group, which managed the legal affairs of the SIG such as membership and intellectual property agreements; and
  • the marketing working group, which promoted the technology and helped to generate the marketing requirements that the specification was to address.

Some of the larger working groups, such as the software working group, were further divided into task forces focusing on a particular layer of the Bluetooth protocol stack. Coordinating all of these working groups and governing the overall SIG was a program management committee composed of voting representatives from each of the promoter companies.

During the one and one-half years that the SIG was developing the version 1.0 specification, working groups and task forces met and conducted their business both together and separately. Full working group (and sometimes complete SIG) meetings were held every few weeks, often hosted by promoter companies in locations where many of their involved personnel worked. These included Ericsson's Lund, Sweden facility; Intel's Chandler, Arizona software laboratory; IBM's sites in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and Hawthorne, New York; and Nokia's Tampere, Finland location. Most working groups and task forces also held weekly conference calls. In addition, e-mail distribution lists were used liberally and in fact were a primary method for conducting working group business. Because of the geographic diversity of the people involved, it was difficult to find mutually convenient times for frequent voice conversations;3 thus electronic mail quickly became a convenient and heavily used means of communication (in many respects it allowed specification development around the clock). Indeed, the official ratification of the final versions of the specification, profiles and errata was conducted using the e-mail reflectors.

In December 1999, four new promoter companies (3Com Corporation, Lucent Technologies Inc., Microsoft Corporation and Motorola, Inc., some of whom had made contributions to the original specification as adopter companies) joined the SIG. At that time the SIG was reorganized, adding a membership level called an associate member as well as formalizing the structure of the SIG and the specification development process. Today the SIG has several working groups, each with its own charter, along with a Bluetooth Architecture Review Board (BARB) that oversees the specification development and maintenance process. The group remains very active today in maintaining the existing documentation and in creating enhancements to the specification, along with new profiles. This work is discussed in further detail in Part 5 of this book.

It easily can be seen that it took an enormous effort to develop over 1,500 pages of complex and detailed information in just over a year's time. For many in the SIG this became their full-time job or at least a primary responsibility. Issues, both technical and non-technical, inevitably arose and were handled through discussion and voting when necessary, but in general the development and refinement of specifications and profiles progressed in an exemplary manner. A spirit of cooperation, fostered by the common objective of producing an open specification for this important new technology, usually carried the day (at least in the authors' experience in the software and interoperability working groups).

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This article was originally published on July 25, 2002

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