After years of promises to revolutionize the computing world, wireless technology
is finally making its way into meeting rooms and offices around the world. What
is this new technology and how can it help you meet more effectively?
The two major players in wireless options right now are Bluetooth wireless technology
and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11). Both are international standards that operate on radio
Bluetooth was originally developed by Ericsson, a Swedish phone company, but
then became an industry standard that is now available to everyone. The technology
is named after Harald Blåtand (translated to Harold Bluetooth in English),
a Danish king who united Denmark and Norway. Bluetooth promises to unite the
computing world and so the name was chosen.
Bluetooth products contain a tiny short-range radio that allows products like
cell phones, printers, laptops, handheld PCs and peripherals to talk to each
other without cables. The technology has a range of 30' (9 m) and doesn’t
draw much power from the device it is installed in.
Wi-Fi, also a radio technology, was developed by the Institute of Electrical
and Electronics Engineers. This technology is faster than Bluetooth, has a range
of 75–150' (22.5–45 m) in an office and up to 1000' (300 m) in open
areas, and requires a greater amount of power.
Both technologies allow you to use your computer, peripherals and network without
cables – but the benefits they offer are different.
How great would it be to walk into a meeting room, turn on your laptop and connect
to the network wirelessly? You could instantly share documents with other meeting
attendees, print any important documents without disrupting the meeting to connect
to the printer and more. Wireless technology means colleagues can connect and
share information seamlessly.
Although Bluetooth and Wi-Fi offer similar solutions there are differences
to consider before purchasing either technology for your meeting room.
Bluetooth technology is a great cable-replacement technology because it draws
less power and has a shorter range than Wi-Fi. With Bluetooth you would no longer
need cables for your mouse, printer, keyboard or other peripherals.
Wi-Fi, with its longer range and larger power draw, is the best option to wirelessly
connect larger devices such as your computer and a network. In bigger devices
the larger power draw lets you exchange data without a noticeable change in
speed and users can be further away from the modem. However, for smaller, battery
operated devices, Wi-Fi’s larger power draw isn’t as useful because
it will quickly drain their power supply.
Bluetooth is the lower-cost option – it is expected that adding Bluetooth
to products will raise the cost by US$10. Wi-Fi, on the other hand, could raise
the cost by US$35 per product.
Make your technology versatile, by buying products such as laptops and pocket
PCs that have both technologies installed, so you can choose when and where
to use either technology.
There are currently over 800 licensed Bluetooth solutions and over 500 Wi-Fi
products. Companies such as Intel, Microsoft and Toshiba offer products that
are equipped with either Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or both.
You may not go wireless overnight, but if you slowly introduce the technology
into your meeting rooms you could find that your meetings become more productive.
No more wasting time searching for cables and setting up multimedia equipment.
Access all the files, appointments and tools you need – tangle-free!