Tell us about your role at Bluetooth SIG
As Chief Marketing Officer of the Bluetooth SIG, I focus on growing the use of Bluetooth technology by attracting and enabling innovators to join our 23,000 members that make their products and applications better with Bluetooth. Together, we’re stewards of the Bluetooth brand and strategic roadmap.
There are five functional areas that the CMO position encompasses – 1. Marcom and Brand Management, 2. Product Management, 3. Member Relations, 4. Developer Programs and Evangelism and 5. Business Development. Over the course of my four years at Bluetooth and in conjunction with the Executive Director, the board, dedicated staff and our members, we've developed and executed on a technology and organization strategy that has transformed the wireless industry and spawned entirely new multi-billion dollar segments, like wearables and beacons to name just a few.
Could you give us some background on the work done by Bluetooth SIG?
Bluetooth and in particular Bluetooth Smart offers interoperability on a massive scale. It took the Bluetooth industry almost 10 years to ship 1 billion devices annually. In 2014 alone, due to the advent and proliferation of Bluetooth Smart and the hundreds of use cases it enables, we plan on three billion Bluetooth-enabled devices shipped. And this is expected to double over the next five years.
We’ve been putting the building blocks in place for the past four years and transformed the role of Bluetooth to securely connect things and applications to one another in an ultra-power efficient way. The key to our success and scale, and what has taken wearables and beacons mainstream in a very short period of time, is the native operating system support Bluetooth Smart has from every major OS in the world (iOS, OSX, Android, Chrome OS, Windows, Windows Phone, Tizen and BlackBerry). As a result, if an OEM wants their device and application to speak to billions of things in a low power way (likely via the device their customer already has in their hand) then Bluetooth is best.
What do you regard as the key challenges facing players in the smart homes/wearables space?
I think these are two spaces at different spots along the product life cycle curve. Wearables are going mainstream and innovation is happening fast as new pioneers enter the market and broad consumer value, acceptance and expectations rise. Core to this consumer acceptance and value is simplicity. They want a solution that turns data coming from a cool looking wearable into useful information through an easy-to-use application and crucially, it also has to work with the phone or tablet they already own. Could you imagine how stuck wearables would be if developers and their customers couldn't count on “just works” interoperability with the phone that’s already in the palm of their hand?
Smart Home has been stuck as the next big thing for over 60 years despite today’s hype. Automated homes of the future have been on display since the 1950’s, yet the Smart Home remains a niche concept and something for only the wealthy and tech-savvy. To take it mainstream, you need a mainstream technology that’s low cost, simple, secure and easy enough for a DIY installation. We think Bluetooth Smart is part of the answer for Smart Home and many members think so too. Over the past 12 months, we've seen members rolling out Bluetooth Smart mesh to help tackle range and coverage and an explosion of Bluetooth Smart products for door locks, security systems, HVAC systems and appliances.
Bluetooth Smart will be natively supported in more gateways – dedicated hubs, TVs, media-streaming boxes, etc. in the coming quarters. These always-on Bluetooth Smart gateways complement the more transient hubs like phones and tablets that already have native Bluetooth Smart support. Since both hubs speak the same language (Bluetooth Smart), OEMs, developers and consumers are going to be able to count on Bluetooth Smart as cutting through today’s fragmentation, enabling massive interoperability for the home and finally lifting this space up the product curve. This industry is still in its infancy, but we firmly believe it will follow the same blueprint as fitness trackers and the broader wearables category.
How has your business benefited from Juniper Research?
There are at least three ways the Bluetooth SIG and Bluetooth industry has benefited from Juniper Research. First, I find it valuable discussing the wireless landscape with top shelf analysts. This sharing of ideas and points of view informs our own technology strategy. Second, the quantitative research Juniper Research provides complements the qualitative analyst conversations we have. This too informs our technology strategy. Finally, the relevant industry research Juniper Research provides informs not only our 23,000 Bluetooth SIG members, but also prospective members who count on a high quality and credible research partner to inform their own product and wireless technology roadmaps.