In the last two decades, Bluetooth® technology has transformed the wireless world, sparked the global beacon revolution, and redefined device connectivity. Since its formation in 1998, interoperability has been at the core of every Bluetooth technology success and achievement.
A World Built on Interoperability
Interoperability is often taken for granted when it comes to Bluetooth devices, but it is critical to the existence and proliferation of the technology. Members of the Bluetooth® community work hard to make sure everything just works for consumers, and this dedication has become the cornerstone of the proven, trusted wireless technology that is Bluetooth.
For many consumers, knowing a product is supported by Bluetooth technology positively impacts purchasing decisions. A Bluetooth brand equity study, conducted by Lux Insights, Inc. on consumer awareness and expectations around wireless connectivity, showed that Bluetooth is a trusted brand with 92% global consumer awareness.
“Over the last 20 years, Bluetooth technology has been pivotal in enabling compelling customer experiences. It has been one of the key technologies underpinning the consumer wireless revolution,” said Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer at ABI Research.
“Attending UPF is very valuable. We found bugs we didn’t even know existed.”
With interoperability being an essential component for consumer acceptance and buy-in, interoperability assurance is nearly as important as device functionality. And there’s no better place to test and ensure device interoperability than at Bluetooth UnPlugFests.
Bluetooth UnPlugFests (UPF) are nonprofit interoperability testing events supported by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) for the benefit of its members. The Bluetooth SIG regularly hosts three UPF events each year in different cities around the globe. “By rotating UPFs to different locations around the world, we can not only better accommodate our global member community, but we can increase the variety of products and testers,” said Rachel Andrews, Bluetooth SIG senior event coordinator who heads UPF planning and event strategy.
At UPF events, members have an opportunity to confidentially test their unreleased and unannounced Bluetooth products against other products and prototypes. This testing helps ensure the quality of these Bluetooth® devices before they come to market. “UPF events are the best opportunity to test with prototype devices that aren’t on the market yet and ensure interoperability,” said Andrews. “Members can test and see results in real time, debugging, fixing, and retesting issues as they arise.”
Who Should Attend
These events are designed to support engineers and developers working on the development of new Bluetooth products. Any Bluetooth member that is actively developing Bluetooth components, firmware, or software; has a unique implementation; or can fix problems with the product they are testing can get tremendous benefits from participating in a UPF event.
UPFs are confidential events hosted in a neutral conference space with no public access, and attendees are required to agree to a confidentiality agreement to participate. This protects the privacy of each developer’s prototypes and products that have not yet come to market.
“For any one developing with Bluetooth, UPF testing is mandatory.”
More Than Interoperability Testing
While interoperability testing can be a significant draw for most of the participants at a UPF event, it’s not the only reason to attend. Each UPF also supports training sessions, networking opportunities, and formal and informal IOP testing comprised of focused sessions that test against unreleased and recently adopted specifications and profiles. “UPF is a great opportunity for engaging face to face with technical experts and engineers across a wide range of markets,” said Daniel Cowling, senior program manager at the Bluetooth SIG.
Additionally, testing tools manufacturers, such as Teledyne and Ellisys, are on site to not only prove the validity of their testing systems, but they also serve as resources for participants, supporting functionality testing for any aspect of Bluetooth technology.
“While we didn’t find issues with our product, it’s always great to help others with their devices.”
What to Expect from Attending
As the main goal of UPF is to allow members working on the development of Bluetooth products to test and ensure their interoperability with other Bluetooth devices, attendees can expect to leave a UPF having:
- Tested against the largest collection of Bluetooth implementations
- Improved the interoperability and quality of products in development
- Learned about the latest technological advancements
- Interacted with engineers from other companies
Since inception, UPFs have regularly seen more than 225 participants, with nearly 150 devices being tested at each event. This level of consistency affirms the community’s commitment to continued interoperability and establishes a great baseline for what new and returning attendees can anticipate from upcoming UPF events.