Bluetooth takes on Porter Novelli for global PR task

OVERLAND PARK, KS: With wireless internet access all the rage and perhaps the only bright spot in the hi-tech sector right now, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has appointed Porter Novelli as its AOR in the US.

OVERLAND PARK, KS: With wireless internet access all the rage and perhaps the only bright spot in the hi-tech sector right now, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has appointed Porter Novelli as its AOR in the US.

This follows in the footsteps of the SIG appointing the firm in Europe and Asia-Pacific, making the firm its global AOR.

Porter Novelli will help draw distinctions between Bluetooth and wi-fi, both of which provide wireless connections. Whereas wi-fi technology is focused on wireless internet access, Bluetooth is broader, allowing several devices to work together without wires, including mobile phones, PCs, printers, and PDAs.

The SIG previously worked with PR21 in the US. Companies such as 3COM, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, and Toshiba are among the SIG's 2,000 members.

"There's not a lot of awareness of the technology, and those who are aware, they aren't too aware of the applications and how it can be used," explained Eric Schneider, the SIG's marketing manager. "We want to focus on the kinds of devices that use Bluetooth, and how you can use those devices."

For example, a wireless headset can connect to a mobile phone in a briefcase, and a handheld device can synchronize with a PC as a person walks into the room, if the devices use Bluetooth technology. Similarly, that technology can also enable someone to send an e-mail from the road using a mobile phone and laptop computer, but without needing to find a wi-fi connection.

Wi-fi users need to find a "hot spot" at a physical location (be it a coffee shop or office), which sends signals to wireless devices such as laptop computers or PDAs.

"We want to educate the various markets about what Bluetooth can do for them," said Porter Novelli VP Jen Grogono. "With Bluetooth, you're a walking 'hot spot.' The timing is good for this, with the heightened awareness of wireless technology in general. The analyst and media communities are better conditioned."

Porter Novelli's Austin, TX office will handle the US portion of the account.

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