The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is planning to cooperate more closely with the Wi-Fi, Ultra-Wideband (UWB) and Near Field Communications (NFC) wireless standards.
The initiative seeks to combine technologies, functionalities and user interfaces to make them more straightforward for end users.
Bluetooth is used mainly for short-range wireless networks, and has a prime application in connecting wireless headsets to mobile phones, while Wi-Fi is the standard in wireless networking for laptops and home networks.
Near Field Communications (NFC) is a less common technology sending a signal over a distance of just a few centimeters.
UWB is an emerging standard commonly referred to as “wireless USB” for its ability to transmit large amounts of data over a distance of up to 10 meters. These characteristics make the technology suitable for replacing USB cables to devices including printers.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group said in May that it would incorporate the UWB specifications in a future version of the standard.
Wi-Fi, for instance, could benefit from a Bluetooth technology dubbed Adaptive Frequency Hopping that enables a device to switch to different frequencies to avoid interference.
Meanwhile Bluetooth could make use of a pairing technology pioneered by the NFC standard developers, where two devices can be paired simply by holding them close to each other.
Pairing allows the user to establish a trusted connection between two devices, for instance allowing a wireless headset to receive a phone conversation or coupling a wireless keyboard to the right computer.
Bluetooth currently requires a custom password to pair devices, which some in the industry consider to be overly complicated.