In 1998, the “Bluetooth Special Interest Group” (SIG) was formed from five companies, to design, implement and manage a method of making electronic devices “talk” to one another, wirelessly.
The name comes from 10th century Viking King Haraldr “Blátǫnn” (“Bluetooth”) Gormsson (old Norse), best remembered for uniting the warring tribes and factions of what is now Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
The first full release of the “Bluetooth” wireless standard was released on this day in 1999, defining a low-cost, low power consumption protocol for “uniting” electronic devices from different manufacturers into a single secure connection.
Dr. Jaap Haartsen, who invented Bluetooth while working at the Stockholm, Sweden offices of the LM Ericsson Company, likens the communication protocol to an 80 lane highway on which two cars are required to stay in the same lane. The trick is to get them to change lanes simultaneously, no matter what the other traffic is doing around them.
As of 2016, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group includes 36,000 member companies, managing a complex network of patents and technology to wirelessly connect as many as seven at a time, among tens of millions of Bluetooth compatible devices.
As for the Bluetooth logo, that’s a “bind-rune”, a ligature of the Viking-age runes for “Hagall” (H) and “Berkanan” (B). Harald Bluetooth.