Home > Articles > Networking > Wireless/High Speed/Optical

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group

As described previously, Bluetooth wireless communication is embodied as a technology specification. This specification is a result of the cooperation of many companies within an organization called the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). There is no "Bluetooth headquarters," nor is there any "Bluetooth corporation," nor any sort of legally incorporated entity. The SIG is governed by legal agreements among the member parties, but it is not a company unto itself. The SIG should not be construed as a formal standards body; rather, it is an organization chartered to define and promote the technology. In fulfilling this charter, the SIG is dependent upon the contributions and participation of its member companies. Clearly, a major task of the SIG has been to develop the specification, but other SIG activities include joint work with other consortia and standards and regulatory bodies, educational and promotional events such as developers conferences, and the definition of a testing and certification process.

Technology and SIG Origins

Bluetooth wireless technology was conceived by engineers at Swedish telecommunications manufacturer Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (hereafter, known as "Ericsson"®) who realized the potential of global short-range wireless communications. In 1994, Ericsson began a project to study the feasibility of a low-power and low-cost radio interface to eliminate cables between mobile phones and their accessories.

In today's computing and communications industries, proprietary new technologies rarely succeed; customers clearly prefer to purchase and deploy technologies based upon industry standards. By creating a level playing field, standards allow customers to have greater freedom to choose from among competing platforms and solutions, to protect their investments as technologies evolve, and to leverage (and, in some cases, also influence) multicompany skills and organizations devoted to developing the standards.

In this industry environment, the Ericsson inventors understood that the technology was more likely to be widely accepted, and thus could be more powerful, if it was adopted and refined by an industry group that could produce an open, common specification. In early 1998, leading companies in the computing and telecommunication industries formed the Bluetooth SIG to focus on developing exactly such an open specification. The founding companies of the SIG are Ericsson, Intel® Corporation, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM®), Nokia® Corporation, and Toshiba® Corporation. These companies formed the original core group (known as promoter companies) of the SIG. The SIG was publicly announced in May 1998 with a charter to produce an open specification for hardware and software that would promote interoperable, cross-platform implementations for all kinds of devices.

Although open standards can be quite advantageous, one potential disadvantage of standards bodies, consortia, special interest groups, and similar organizations is that they tend toward inherent inefficiencies as compared to single-company efforts. Within a single company, there is often one overriding objective for developing new technology; in a multicompany effort, each participant may have different, perhaps even competing goals. Even with modern ways to exchange information, such as electronic mail, group interactions are still likely to be more efficient within a single organization than throughout a group composed of many organizations (especially when those organizations are geographically diverse, as is the case for the members of the SIG—telephone calls, for example, have to take into account the fact that the people involved reside in time zones with little or no overlap of typical working [or even waking] hours).

To overcome some of these potential drawbacks, the SIG intentionally was created with a small number of companies committed to the rapid development of the specification who were willing to expend the resources necessary to accomplish this.

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 upon the specification, and can receive and comment upon early versions of SIG publications.

Today there are more than 1,800 adopter members of the SIG, representing academia and industries such as consumer electronics, automotive, silicon manufacturing, consulting, telecommunications, and many others. The original SIG's objective was to develop, as rapidly as possible, an open specification that was sufficiently complete to enable implementations. By carefully organizing the SIG and employing the 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 more than 1,500 pages) in about a year and a half (version 1.0 of the specification, including profiles, was published in July 1999).

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 following:

  • 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

  • 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 year and a half that the SIG was developing the 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; 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. 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 4 of our book.

It easily can be seen that it took an enormous effort to develop more than 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. Both technical and nontechnical issues 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 our experience in the software and interoperability working groups).

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020