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Report shows lack of faith in Bluetooth

The majority of businesses say they have no plans to purchase products using the Bluetooth wireless data-transfer standard, a recent poll shows.

SINGAPORE--The majority of businesses polled by consulting company Frost & Sullivan say they have no plans to purchase products using the Bluetooth wireless data-transfer standard.

Frost & Sullivan interviewed network managers and other IT executives at 120 large companies across the world, including 40 Asian business. Questions focused on plans for Bluetooth, a growing technology for wirelessly connecting computing devices over short distances.

Only three out of the 120 companies were testing Bluetooth products and all were Europe-based. "It was clear from other parts of the research that Europe is likely to be the early market to target," Frost & Sullivan said in a statement.

Bluetooth, the emerging short-range wireless technology, has managed to confuse many consumers, according to the study. "One of the fundamental findings of the study is that the majority of end-users describe Bluetooth as a wireless LAN," Jan Ten Sythoff, Frost & Sullivan's Mobile and Wireless program manager, said in the statement. "Although this is true to a degree?the two technologies are becoming more similar. They also differ in many ways.

"It is important that the industry increases awareness of the capabilities and limitations of the technology or disappointment could lead to a backlash."

Ten Sythoff warned that because of those perceptions, companies with existing wireless LAN implementations were less likely to invest in Bluetooth.

Frost & Sullivan said Bluetooth technology, which has been in development for more than six years, must overcome several problems--such as interoperability, interference and perceived security flaws--before it can succeed.

Respondents to the survey were most concerned about Bluetooth's security--a finding that was consistent globally, regardless of whether the companies had installed wireless LAN.

Despite the initial negative findings, the consulting company believes future Bluetooth-enabled devices will have a huge impact on the communications industry. "We are confident that Bluetooth anticipation (in) the PC and cellular phone industry will help push revenues from under $2 billion this year to $333 billion by 2006," according to the report. "Bluetooth shipments will leap from 4.2 million to 1.01 billion during the same timeframe," the company added.

Staff writer Fran Foo reported from Singapore.