Bluetooth 25th Celebration in Jelling

25 years ago Örjan Johansson and I (Jim Kardach) finished business at Lego, then set out on our true journey of paying homage to our technology's namesake. Here we posed in front of the famous Jelling Stone, commissioned by King Harald Bluetooth himself. If you have not heard of the Jelling stone, it is the largest runic stone in the world and is considered "Denmark's birth certificate" as it's runes have the first mention of "Denmark". Here we snapped this picture. 

Earlier this year Morten Teilmann-Jørgensen, of the Kongernes Jelling National Museum of Denmark, invited the founding members of the Bluetooth SIG to celebrate its 25th anniversary at its UNESCO historic site in Jelling Denmark. Last week we were able to retake the picture; 25 years later!

Jim and Örjan at the Jelling rune stones, seperated by 25 years

Our day started at the museum where gave some very smart high school students an overview of Bluetooth technology, its use of Hedy Lamarr’s spread spectrum technology, as well as a demonstration of a Jelling King finder using iBeacons. The students were tasked with ideas on how to make the museum better using Harald's namesake technology. At the end of the day we got to review their proposals and had a great time talking with the students. There was some heckling of the presenter (me), but eventually the other founding members stopped trying to set a good example for the students.

Tour of the UNESCO Site

Morten had then arranged a tour of the UNESCO site with Adam Bak as our guide. We were amazed by Adam Bak’s storytelling as he showed us the wonders that make this a UNESCO world heritage site. I must warn you that Adam's description of the reburial of Gorm the Old is not for the faint-hearted!

Adam Bak, Curator at the Jelling Viking Kings Museum, mesmerizing us with his story telling skills!

Kingnected Exhibit

Morten next invited us to the opening of his newest exhibit "Kingnected". The ribbon cermony once again blended the old and the new. They were able to find a small viking boy, Harald I believe, who had lineage from King Harald Bluetooth (he did have a blue tooth). Little Harald activated a button on a phone, which unlocked a Bluetooth lock, which opened the exhibit for everyone.

While hard to see, the major of the Veijle Municipality, Jens Ejner Christensen, attended as well (behind Kristoffer Leiling, to the left of Johann Weber).

Morten and Christen with Little Harald Unlocking the ribbon to the new Kingnected Exhibit

The “Bluetooth Kingnected” exhibit has some Bluetooth technology artifacts and shows the links between the historic Bluetooth and his namesake technology; it all looked so familiar! 

It tells the story of how the Bluetooth SIG adopted the codename "Bluetooth", and then tried to create official names and logos, failing many times. While everyone knows how this ends, the story is pretty entertaining and the exhibit does a great job retailing the story. Also in the exhibits is a Bluetooth SIG runic stone which we used to give to companies when they signed up to join the SIG. My book "The Vikings" is opened to the page showing the Jelling stone, which I thought had a picture of Harald on it (oops). This image inspired the SIG's codename. 

The Kingnected exhibit, Lower left is me with a drawing of me and Harald, lower center is Christian Goldback and I at the Kingnected display. Bottom right is the SIG's version of a rune stone.

If traveling in Denmark, the Danish National Museums are a must see. I have been to the Jelling (focused on the Viking Kings) and the Copenhagen Museums. Both are first class and must see.

The Official Apology

26 or so years ago I had picked Bluetooth as the codename for our project. While I had done a due-diligence trademark search, evidently I had failed to ask permission to use the name. This failure has implicated the other founding members as they did finally accept the name as the official SIG and technology name! Now Stephen Nachtsheim (Simon and my general manager at Intel) likes to relate that he did not approve the name, and that Simon and I had laid a note on his chair indicating that the codename was to be "Bluetooth", and if we did not hear from him in a week we would move forward (he was away in Japan for two weeks :)

Morten thought it would be great to have an "Official Apology" ceremony. In this ceremony the attending Bluetooth SIG founders, Morten and Adam all collect around the Jelling stone. Adam, the official Herald for this occasion, calls out "Hear-ye, hear-ye" and proceeds to read a proclamation where the Bluetooth founding members officially apologize to the Danes for not asking permission to use the name "Bluetooth". After the reading of the proclamation the attending founding members sign the proclamation (including Mr. Nachtsheim).

After the signing, Adam once again starts with "Hear-ye, hear-ye", and then reads a second proclamation accepting the apology and granting further use of the name "Bluetooth" for a further 1000 years! Thank-you Denmark!

Top: Johann Weber, Anders Edlund, Holger Husseman, Simon Ellis, Örjan Johansson, Jim Kardach, Stephen Nachtsheim, Morten Teilmann-Jørgensen

Comic book: Bluetooth, Vikings and technology

I achieved one of my life goals! To be in a comic book! “Bluetooth Vikings and technology” which is being sold by the National Museum of Denmark, and tells the story of Harald Bluetooth, and the naming of a short-range wireless technology.

The comic retells the story I outlined in my article “Bluetooth, the naming of a technology”, but links the historic Bluetooth with the technology naming. I was honored to share cover with Harald and Jelling’s famous stone. The comic includes all of my founder buddies, many who were here, as well has Harald and his family! I’m sure this comic will become required reading in all business schools that teach how to name a technology. 

I did buy a few extra comic books, and will be giving them out to my friends and family. In particular I have one for my buddy at Lyles College of Engineering (my engineering school) at California State University, Fresno. Ram Nunna look for it!

I got to meet the comic book creators Lakstein Fernandes, Sammy Torres, Martina Terzi, Thorbjörn Petersen, Ingvild Marie Methi and of course the producer Morten Teilmann-Jørgensen.  What a great job they did! 

Simon was very hyped because he says he is portrayed as a villain (Simon likes the idea of being a villain). I talked with the writers, and there is nothing to this story of Simon being a villain; wanting to be a villain and being a villain are two different things. 

In Fact Simon was more of a hero when he pushed back on our hired PR people during the launch in London. By the way, that scene about our mini runic stones where the PR people stated "we can't give these out, they will throw them at us" is true, and the reason we had so many of the stones to give out to new SIG members.

The comic's front cover, Jim and Lakstein Fernandes, found the comic book at the Copenhagen Museum. Lower photo is the comic book autograph line (Örjan, Jim, Simon, Holger, Stephen, Johann, Anders).

Viking Feast

I was born in Tennessee, but grew up in Hawaii. I understand Laui, but a Viking Feast is next level awesome. While there are no blue drinks with umbrellas, there is lots of roasted pig, mead, beer, stories, and viking hospitality. The Danes know how to party.

Yes we had a Viking Feast. Adam once again amazed us with his telling of history as he stands next to the official Herald. That pig not only looked good, but tasted great!

Once again Adam weaved tales of the past (historic Bluetooth) and present (Bluetooth technology) while servers, dressed as period vikings, served us roasted pig, mead, and some great beer! The servers were all dressed as period vikings of King Harald Bluetooth's time and we had a great time talking about the past, and present with a whole lot of new friends.

After eating our fill, we all gathered outside and proceeded to march by torch light toward the jelling stone. We passed the northern mound, passed the church and gathered around the Bluetooth runic stone. Harald Bluetooth, upon a horse, joined us shortly and Morten then explained how the pub crawl would work. 

Yes we had a Pub Crawl. In my story, one of the key moments in the naming of the Bluetooth was when a disappointed Sven Mattisson decided to do a pub crawl Toronto Canada; where I would tell a story from history, then Sven would tell me a story from Scandinavian History. While Sven didn't know much history, he had read a book called the longships and told me stories from this book. The king during this time was "Harald Bluetooth”.

Morten Teilmann-Jørgensen in all of his wisdom that we should close the day by recreating that pub crawl (though Jelling only has four pubs, they make up for it in quality! ). Each of the founders were stationed in one of the four pubs in Jelling, and the celebrators would then rotate around the pubs. To make things extra special Morten made sure that the Bluetooth Blues was queued up and playing at the pubs for us (that is Warren Allen on harp). As we were talking with people, ever so often a museum curator would pop up and ask one of many questions that people wrote down at the viking feast, and we would answer the question. It was a great time, and I met a lot of new friends!

So this was really the end of the first day. My wife, Cathy Kardach, who never acquired the taste for beer, drove us back to our hotel in Vejle (another beautiful city) where we went to bed and prepared ourselves for day 2. But that is for another article …

Bluetooth SIG Founding Members

While none of us are actually part of the Bluetooth SIG anymore, 25 years ago we did found it. Stephen Nachtsheim, Johann Weber, Simon Ellis, and I (Jim Kardach) worked at Intel Corporation. 

Stephen and Johann worked with other executives at getting support for building a single wireless cable. At the time Stephen ran Intel's Mobile and Handheld Processor Group, and protected Simon and I from being fired.

The Bluetooth SIG was formed with two main groups:

I ran the PM group (I named the groups which hints at my naming genius) which includes myself (Jim Kardach representing Intel), Holger Hussmann (representing Nokia), and Örjan Johansson (representing Ericsson).  Missing founding members were Peter Lee who represented IBM and Warren Allen who represented Toshiba.

Simon lead the Marketing group and represented Intel, though he and Anders Edlund (representing Ericsson) were really the dynamic duo. Who knew what they would do next!

For this event we did miss Jaap Haartsen, who was the key architect on the Ericsson MC-Link radio system (which was our starting point) and led the Architecture group defining the Bluetooth baseband.

We also missed Sven mattisson, who is a central character in the naming legend, mentor to all that know him and a pretty darn nice guy. He led the group defining the specifications for the CMOS radio.

Sven Mattisson, Jim Kardach and Holger Husseman in a secret location somewhere in Sweden

There were of course thousands of engineers that worked to make Bluetooth successful in the past, and currently. 

While we worked hard as a group, we also became best of friends. That is really the best kind of work! Happy 25th Anniversary Bluetooth SIG, continue that good work!