Bluetooth, Women And Guerrilla Research

By | April 28, 2004

An interesting survey of Bluetooth, both in its results and methods, found by Gizmodo.

The survey (PDF) was conducted by, as far as I can work out, something called Guerrilla Research using technology provided by Zero Sum (I can’t find out much more about these folk, and the PDF file doesn’t deliver up any clues). They seem to have set up a Bluetooth sniffer in London’s business district this month, and recorded the device name and type of anything giving off a Bluetooth signal. The survey is aimed at gauging the commercial potential of Bluetooth, and is based on the premise that, unlike SMS and WAP, Bluetooth is a marketing opportunity not to be missed. Out of approximately 1,500 folk buzzed, there were 177 devices found.

The results of the survey are revealing. First off, PDAs and laptops are negligible in Bluetooth terms. Secondly, more than 60% of devices found still had their default names — their models, such as Nokia 6310i, or whatever. Those that did assign names mostly assigned male ones, which the report offered possible explanations for: men are more into Bluetooth than women; women may not feel the overwhelming urge to ‘personalise’ their device; women may alter the default settings to make their device invisible (for a more ‘natural’ approach to these possible explanations, see Gizmodo’s posting).  

My conclusion: Until we know more background information about these folk the survey will remain highly suspect. But it is revealing, firstly, that so many people keep their Bluetooth devices on their default setting, that is ‘discoverable’, and don’t bother to change the default name. That would suggest that a lot of folk simply don’t know their device has Bluetooth, or don’t know about the dangers of Bluesnarfing or Bluejacking.

Secondly, either women give male names to their devices or there’s an interesting gender difference in using cellphones. Although I’d guess that women and men use their cellphones to an almost equal extent, clearly Bluetooth remains something of a nerdy feature. I’d guess that women are just as likely to alter the customisable features on their cellphone — ringtone, background image — that does not include Bluetooth. That has interesting implications for the raft of new Bluetooth social networking tools we’re seeing. It must also mean there are some seriously frustrated ‘toothing’ guys out there.

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