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Gartner warns IT on Bluetooth

As support for the Bluetooth wireless specification slowly expands in the U.S., Gartner Inc. warns that in three years, Bluetooth-based technology will cost businesses and consumers worldwide an additional $5.6 billion annually due to increased support and usage costs.

Bluetooth champions anticipate that forthcoming native Bluetooth implementations for the Windows XP and Macintosh OS X will boost the presence of the spec in the U.S. Bluetooth is described by its developers in the so-called Bluetooth SIG as a small-form factor, low-cost radio solution that can provide links between mobile computers, mobile phones and other portable handheld devices, as well as Internet connectivity. Gartner predicts that more than 560 million Bluetooth-based devices will be in use worldwide by 2005.

Analysts at the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm suggest IT managers should tread carefully into Bluetooth technologies. For example, Gartner analysts say security flaws and interoperability problems can make Bluetooth-enabled devices inadequate unless organizations spend significant sums to correct the problems.

'Bluetooth deployment costs will be higher than other wireless technologies because of limited interoperability and the need to implement policies to safeguard against data corruption and theft,' said Gartner analyst Bill Clark. Though the Bluetooth SIG must certify all Bluetooth-enabled products, Clark contends the process doesn't 'make high-level security and interoperability between products a requirement.'

He added that the Bluetooth specifications cannot guarantee that products from multiple vendors can interoperate. Therefore, IT developers will in many cases be forced to create links between products.

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.

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