FAA Clears Bluetooth Technology For Takeoff

Posted on November 07, 2013 by Mark Powell

News from the FAA this week gives airlines the green light to expand passenger use of wireless – including Bluetooth® technology – during all phases of a flight. This update to the 50-year-old policy is good news for travelers, and as a frequent traveler, I appreciate the ability to use my Bluetooth keyboard while working on my tablet mid-flight. What this now-opened door really signals is how far the wireless industry has come to enable ubiquitous wireless use.

It wasn’t too long ago we were told we couldn’t use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on planes, and we needed to turn off the radios in our phones to conserve battery power or cut down on interference or protect our data from hackers. That is no longer the case. The evolution of the Bluetooth specification makes it possible for the FAA to say, “Yep, all good!” and we no longer hear recommendations to “turn it off” anywhere else.

Says Johnathan Schildkraut, analyst at Evercore Partners in this Reuter’s article: “The FAA’s decision is likely to move more passengers towards always-on connectivity.”

I would contend that we’re not just talking about passengers on planes, but all of us in our daily lives. We’ve become always-on – or rather, given the option to be always-on or –off without thinking about it – and the wireless technology in our lives give us that ability. This news truly hammers that point home.

mark powell

Mark Powell

Mark is the Executive Director at Bluetooth SIG. He is a seasoned leader and wireless industry veteran with more than 25 years experience in board level, general management, business development, marketing, manufacturing and engineering roles. 

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