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Advertisers try out bluetooth

Rajesh S Kurup  |  Mumbai 

The is being used in in malls and cafes for sending messages to select and targeted customers.
The next time you walk into a Cafe Coffee Day outlet in your city, don't miss the freebies on offer. The restaurant chain allows the download of free ringtones and mobile games using devices that support bluetooth like a mobile phone, laptop or a personal digital assistant.
Apart from Cafe Coffee Day, companies like Pantaloon, Levi's and Pepsi among others are also offering goodies through bluetooth that can be downloaded free-of-cost.
This wireless is coming of age with malls across the country "" like Forum and Total in Bangalore "" using it to inform customers of products and services, not to mention offering of discounts.
Bluetooth is a wireless interface specification that helps communication between two devices without the help of operator services. Using the technology, data or music can be transferred though files.
The range is usually up to 50 metre on laptops and 10 metre on mobile phones. Both the devices, the receiver as well as the sender, should be bluetooth compatible.
Suresh Narasimha, CEO, Telibrahma Convergent Communications, a developer of for mobile advertising, says that companies are now discovering the potential of the technology and are utilising them for marketing and promotional activities.
"With a large number of devices in the country that can support bluetooth, there lies a huge ability to advertise or sell products using this technology. It can transfer graphic-rich media free to the user," he said.
Titan, Woodland, Cookieman and Adidas are some of the companies that are already experimenting with this technology in the country.
This is a new trend and is on the verge of becoming big in the country. On an average Telibrahma records around 900-1,000 downloads, but the number is good considering that the technology is only catching up.
Milind Pathak, CEO, Buongiorno (Hong Kong), a digital marketing and advertising firm, is of the opinion that this could be the next big method for advertising, next only to SMS and Wireless Access Protocol (WAP).
"The bluetooth technology can be best used for promoting items at a particular locality, like in a mall or a shopping plasma. Even though, this doesn't have the reach of an SMS, the technology's interactivity makes it a popular one," he said.
Bluetooth is gaining popularity as the advertiser can run a contest or a quiz and the user can take part on the spot due to its interactive ability. Prizes could be also given on the spot, he added.
Rajiv Hiranandani of mobile2win (a Value added Service (VAS) software provider) said: "Even though Bluetooth existed for quite sometime, it was only used for transferring of data for individual uses. Now the companies are setting up Dongles (servers) that beams the data across a shopping complex or a mall enabling commercial use of the technology".
He added the technology was suited for high-traffic area and earlier experiments were "successful".
"The technology could be misused and has to be dealt with care. Spammers may use this to flood your mobile phone with unwanted messages, while pranksters can use bluetooth to send in viruses into handsets", he said.
The best way to use this technology is to accept material only from persons or companies you trust. Next time you visit a restaurant or a mall don't forget to turn on your bluetooth and collect the freebies.

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First Published: Fri, September 21 2007. 00:00 IST
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