JP Norair and I have the opportunity to meet lots of people interested in DASH7 and recently we were introduced to someone who tried, unsuccessfully, to deconstruct the facts around DASH7 and then argue that Bluetooth (the cable replacement technology some of us use for “hands free” mode in our cars or for some wireless headsets, mostly) could do anything DASH7 could do. We presented our arguments verbally but he asked for a presentation that he could share internally that compares the two, so we did one, but we thought it was worth sharing with our readers.
Bluetooth is a cool technology for some things. I use Bluetooth daily and my life wouldn’t be the same without it, really. It’s been nearly 20 years since Ericsson put Bluetooth on the table and the last 10 years or so have really gone well for companies supporting Bluetooth – it’s in most cell phones, wireless headsets, and quite a few wireless keyboards and mice. BT 4.0 includes an exciting extension called Bluetooth Low Energy (or Bluetooth Smart) that has good prospects for body area networks (like heart rate monitors), toys, and other gizmos that need short range, low power, and high bandwidth.
The encounter I mentioned above included a discussion on a beaconing mode of Bluetooth’s that some think could be used for indoor advertising, social discovery, and perhaps other things. This is almost certainly a function of technologists making lemonade with the lemons they have to play with on today’s handsets combined with the screaming demand from advertisers for better indoor location for purposes of serving mobile ads. Any look at a Facebook or Google analyst report emphasizes the growing risk to those advertising models that cannot convert visitors using a mobile phone: both companies were built with the desktop in mind and the desktop is decreasing rapidly, relative to mobile, as the principal way of internet communications.
Our presentation goes into some detail on the weaknesses of using beacons to accomplish use cases like mobile advertising. Anyone who has heard the stories about Skout and the tragic reports of sexual assaults that resulted from unrestrained beacons, not to mention anyone familiar with the privacy controversies with EPC Gen 2 passive RFID, knows that security and privacy are not features to be added as an afterthought to a new wireless technology. DASH7 has a terrific privacy and security architecture that is unlike Bluetooth or any other low power wireless technology in the market today. But security is just one attribute that helps us contrast DASH7 with Bluetooth. Take a few minutes to scan it and let us know what you think.